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M&A in the ad industry surged in the first half of 2022, despite economic uncertainty. These 11 behind-the-scenes players from companies like Deloitte and Havas are driving the spree

  • Advertising and media M&A increased 21% year-over-year in the first half of 2022 despite economic uncertainty.
  • Ad agencies like Havas and consultancies like Deloitte ramped up deals as they look to bolster tech capabilities.
  • Insider identified 11 execs leading M&A at the top ad companies.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Mergers and acquisitions in the ad industry have continued at a breakneck pace this year, defying the economic downturn that is slowing activity elsewhere.

There were 1,033 deals made in the technology, digital, media and marketing sector in the first half of 2022, a 21% increase over the same period of last year, according to a recent report from M&A advisory firm Ciesco.

While private equity companies are driving much of this activity, agencies and consulting firms are also snapping up firms to strengthen their digital capabilities, Ciesco reported. 

Ad agencies like Jellyfish and S4 Capital are investing in tech to compete for so-called digital transformation work — like integrating tech throughout all aspects of a business to improve interactions with customers. That work was once handled primarily by consulting giants like Deloitte.

While those consultancies continue to go on acquisition sprees, most activity this year came from the top six ad holding companies — WPP, Havas, Publicis Groupe, Dentsu Aegis, IPG, and Omnicom — who were responsible for 14 acquisitions in the first half of 2022. Havas completed four deals in the first half of the year, according to Ciesco.

Insider identified 11 executives overseeing ad industry M&A activity for these agencies. They are listed in alphabetical order by employer.

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