Noteworthy here is the prevalence of "marketing tech" companies in the CRM, email, marketing automation and related categories (as opposed to ad-tech/display media deals). In addition to ExactTarget and Responsys, Adobe's $600 million Neolane buy was a notable example.
By contrast, 2012 arguably produced just one big deal in the "marketing tech" arena (Oracle's $871 million acquisition of Eloqua). So, more evidence that email and CRM are hot again -- while plain vanilla ad tech may be challenged.
"Marketing technology, connecting consumers to brand, using a lot more data that brands and publishers already have is a very promising area," said JEGI co-president Tolman Geffs, "whereas ad tech, scraping cookies with little overall contribution, isn't a very promising area."
Asked what deal types were conspicuously absent from 2013, Geffs added he was surprised not to see more M&A movement around retail-enabling technologies.
"I expected to see more in retail tech, and I think that's still going to happen," he said. "Retailers have so much potential, not just in offering ecommerce but in really digitizing the shopping experience. They are very smart business people but need a lot of help not just in adopting a technology but in re-engineering their own go-to-market processes."
One additional note: The avalanche of major acquisitions may belie an equal acceleration in small-time deal making. Since 2013's total deal value was on parity with 2012 at $20 million to $23 million (again, not counting POG) spread across about the same number of acquisitions as 2012, the preponderance of expensive mergers this year suggests a greater number of smaller deals at sub-$1 million or even sub-$100,000 price points.
JEGI doesn't itemize smaller acquisitions in its report, so it's not clear what types of companies sold in this range. Geffs said many of the deals are single purpose apps and niche websites, but the list also likely includes small ad networks, struggling ad-tech "point solutions" and regional or niche agencies and consulting firms.