Increasing interest in Internet M&A, as Getty Images sells for $3.3bn

Contact: Ben Kolada

In another sign of growing interest in the digital media sector, and in Internet companies in particular, Getty Images has announced that its management and The Carlyle Group are acquiring the company from Hellman & Friedman for $3.3bn. The consortium is paying nearly 40% more for the company than H&F did just four years ago when it took Getty private in a $2.4bn deal. The deal is the largest Internet content and commerce acquisition since Silver Lake Partners and Warburg Pincus announced in May 2010 that they were taking Interactive Data Corp private for $3.4bn.

With the exception of a dip in 2003, M&A volume in the broad Internet content and commerce category has risen every year since we began tracking tech acquisitions in 2002. Unlike the greater tech sector, Internet deal volume was even resilient during the recent recession. According to The 451 M&A KnowledgeBase, while overall yearly tech M&A volume dropped 25% from its high of 4,032 transactions announced in 2006 to 3,020 in 2008, Internet M&A volume rose 10.5% over the same period.

Both older Internet properties and hot upstarts are attracting interest. The advent of social media has enabled today’s Internet startups to rapidly market their products to millions of consumers through powerful word of mouth marketing. Meanwhile, older Internet vendors that survived the tech industry’s nuclear winter a decade ago have now matured, and many are seeking liquidity.

Also driving M&A activity is the rise of serial Internet acquirers such as Google, which has picked up 31 Internet firms. And we’re seeing a resurgence of Internet consolidation shops, such as Rebellion Media and MITRE.

Internet content and commerce annual deal volume

Year Deal volume % change
2012 YTD 441 N/A
2011 787 26%
2010 625 9%
2009 572 13%
2008 504 4%
2007 485 6%
2006 456 53%
2005 298 62%
2004 184 8%
2003 170 -36%
2002 265 N/A

Source: The 451 M&A KnowledgeBase

For more real-time information on tech M&A, follow us on Twitter @MAKnowledgebase.

Rebellion Media set on consolidating digital media

Contact: Ben Kolada

Rebellion Media was founded just earlier this year, but has already announced enough acquisitions to make itself appear like a veteran player in the digital media sector. From its first acquisition announcement,, announced July 11, the company has been printing a deal a week. In fact, Rebellion is buying companies at such a breakneck pace that official announcements are playing catch-up to Rebellion’s corporate website, which already lists all of the brands it has acquired so far.

Waterloo, Canada-based Rebellion Media isn’t hiding its intentions, saying on its website that it will continue to be ‘aggressive’ in M&A. The startup has so far announced acquisitions of content, mobile and Web development and e-commerce-related vendors. Targets so far have been located in its home country, Canada, but future deals are likely throughout North America and beyond.

The company primarily targets content and reference Internet properties in the health and wellness, technology, entertainment and sports verticals. But it isn’t restricting itself to this group. Rebellion recently announced the purchase of Jingu Apps, an LBS-based mobile instant messaging and friend-finding service. The company has reinforced its acquired assets with its traffic and monetization platform called TRACE, which stands for ‘Traffic, Revenue and Content Engine.’

Rebellion isn’t yet working with bankers, instead preferring to use M&A knowhow that its executives garnered from their prior experiences. CEO Ted Hastings was previously president of digital media rollup shop Cyberplex. As for funding, the company has taken an undisclosed amount of financing from American Capital. Although we weren’t given specific guidance on who or where Rebellion might acquire next, future transactions could be in the SEM/SEO and e-commerce sectors.

Rebellion Media’s announced M&A

Date announced Target Target summary
July 31, 2012 Universal Properties Owns domain names for purposes of Web development and search engine optimization.
July 24, 2012 Jingu Apps LBS mobile instant messaging application that enables BlackBerry and iOS users to connect with nearby users of WhatsApp, Hookt, LiveProfile, Touch and Kik mobile social networks and communities.
July 17, 2012 Scott Hastings (10 sports websites) Group of combat sports news and reference content websites, including,, and
July 11, 2012 Provides online electronics buying advice and reference content that allows consumers to compare and rate products.

Source: The 451 M&A KnowledgeBase

For more real-time information on tech M&A, follow us on Twitter @MAKnowledgebase.