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W2O Acquires Symplur

W2O Group annouced that it has acquired Symplur for its specialist healthcare SMA platform. Symplur will continue to operate as W2O symplur, and W2O anticipates continued development on the platform. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

OBI4wan Acquires HowAboutYou

OBI4wan has acquired its long-time sales and implementation partner HowAboutYou. The combination puts the companies' efforts with commercial and public-sector clients, respectively, under one roof.

NetBase + Quid Merge

NetBase and Quid announced their merger to form NetBase Quid. The combined company will build on social media analysis from NetBase and text analytics from Quid to offer insights from "all forms of structured and unstructured data."

Companies in social media analysis changed ownership 21 times in 2019—down slightly from 2018. As usual, most transactions are portfolio plays, companies adding to their technology and services capabilities, but private equity and public markets played a role again this year.

Here's a recap of the year's deals. As always, you can find the latest deals and a record of past deals in the space at SMA's acquisitions scorecard.

Acquisitions in social media analysis 2019

Coming and Going
The vast majority of companies in social media analysis are privately held, but the occasional company makes the move to the public market—or back. In 2019, we saw one of each: an IPO for Sprout Social and a private buyout for Cision.

Acquisitions Leaderboard
Speaking of Cision, the perennial acquirer picked up Unmetric, plus and TrendKite, both of which had been acquirers in 2018. Cision cements its position atop the acquisitions leaderboard with a total of 19 acquired companies, including companies bought by companies that Cision later rolled up. The rest of the top five were quiet in 2019: Meltwater (14), Sprinklr (9), Hootsuite (8) and Twitter (8, but harder to count).

Buy and Operate
Sometimes, the exit strategy is no exit at all, as investors buy companies with the intention of operating them. ESW Capital added Synoptos to a company portfolio that already included FirstRain and Jive. Maps Group upgraded from major investor to owner of Roialty.

Portfolio Filling
The development of portfolio strategies has been fascinating to watch, as the menu board of perceived synergies and all-in-one packages keeps changing. Access Intelligence filled the social media gap in its catalog for PR, marketing and communications with Pulsar. NICE took Brand Embassy to add the digital to its customer experience platform. Brandwatch bought Qriously to marry solicited market research with social media analysis.

AirPR renamed itself Onclusive and added Ozmotic to its earned media toolset. Intrado (formerly West) bought Notified and started bundling in features from other acquisitions to build a one-stop platform for PR. After buying Nuvi in 2018, Brickfish adopted the Nuvi name and expanded its social media management business into healthcare with Banyan.

Tech Pickups
If the portfolio plays are adding to the menu, these deals are focused on the tech ingredients. Conversocial opened new channels of communication with Assist. Cheetah Digital went to the zero-party data source at Wayin. Easiware got machine learning and text analytics in Dictanova.

FigBytes added online engagement and insights from Unison for its sustainability platform. Trufan picked audience segmentation and advisers from SocialRank. Mavrck got influencer search and data in GroupHigh.

Strategic swaps
Infomedia bought M-Brain's media intelligence operations, except in Finland, as part of an alliance supporting the latter's refocus on competitive and market intelligence. In a less common arrangement, Percolate joined Seismic in a better-together strategy for content management.

Industry news on SMA is supported by YouScan. Additional sponsorships are available.


Sprout Social IPO

Trufan Acquires SocialRank

Trufan announced that it has acquired SocialRank, which will continue to operate as a standalone product. At the same time, the company has received $400,000 (US) in new investment from Round13 Capital.

The SocialRank founders will serve as advisors to Trufan while moving on to a new project.

Seismic Acquires Percolate

Seismic announced that it has acquired Percolate to combine the companies' capabilities in marketing management and sales enablement.

Unmetric Joins & Cision, a division of Cision, announced that it has acquired Unmetric. The company plans to merge the Unmetric product into the platform, continuing its strategy of building a unified social media marketing platform.

Cision (NYSE: CISN) announced that it has agreed to be acquired by an affiliate of Platinum Equity for $2.74 billion in cash.

Platinum Equity is a buy-and-hold investment firm with 40 companies in its portfolio.

Access Intelligence Buys Pulsar

Access Intelligence Plc announced that it has acquired Pulsar in a stock-swap transaction valued at £4.5 million. The addition gives Access Intelligence an enterprise social media intelligence capability to go with Vuelio and ResponseSource.

Pulsar's previous owner, Cello Health plc, has shareholders in common with Access Intelligence and retains an interest in Pulsar.

Infomedia and M-Brain have announced an alliance to provide a pan-Nordic media intelligence solution. As part of the deal, Infomedia has acquired M-Brain's Swedish and Norwegian media intelligence operations and its Estonian production facility. M-Brain will continue to provide media intelligence in the Finnish market, while shifting its focus to its products and services for market and competitive intelligence.

M-Brain previously sold Infomedia its media monitoring technology and international data business, which it had acquired in 2016.

Mavrck Acquires GroupHigh

Mavrck announced that it has acquired GroupHigh in a move that grows its Influencer Index tenfold. GroupHigh will continue as a subsidiary, while Mavrck plans to incorporate GroupHigh's blogger-search capabilities and profiles data into its own platform.

Cheetah Digital Acquires Wayin

Cheetah Digital announced that it has acquired Wayin  for its capabilities in zero-party data collection and analysis. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

This iteration of Wayin was formed by the merger of Wayin and EngageSciences in 2016.

Maps Group Buys Rest of Roialty

Maps spa announced that it has acquired Roialty  with an investment of more that € 500 million. Maps is an existing investor in the company, previously holding a 46.1% position. Maps specializes in technologies for developing information from data, offering a mix of products and services for large companies and public administration.

Nuvi Acquires Banyan

Nuvi  announced that it has acquired Banyan in an expansion into the healthcare market. Banyan has developed HIPAA-compliant tools for managing social media, online reviews and business listings for healthcare providers.

Brickfish acquired Nuvi in September 2018; the combined company recently changed its branding to Nuvi.

Ignite Technologies and its parent, ESW Capital, announced last month the acquisition of Synoptos  for its media intelligence business. Synoptos, which was formed by the combination of Infoition and OhMyGov in 2014, will operate as Ignite Synoptos Solutions.

ESW is a frequent buyer of business software companies, which it continues to operate and grow. The company earlier acquired FirstRain and Jive Software; its complete portfolio includes more than 80 acquired companies.

AirPR announced that it has acquired Ozmotic for its content marketing and analytics. The combined company has been renamed Onclusive  to broaden its appeal.

Brandwatch Acquires Qriously

Brandwatch  announced that it has acquired Qriously to connect solicited, quantitative market research and social media intelligence. Qriously places survey questions on mobile phones through ad networks to conduct real-time research.

Conversocial Acquires Assist

Conversocial  announced that it has acquired Assist to add messaging automation and chatbots to its customer experience portfolio.

Cision Snaps Up TrendKite

Cision  announced that it has acquired TrendKite  for $225 million in cash and stock. The TrendKite platform will continue as a standalone product with a longer-term plan of integration into the Cision Communications Cloud product. Cision also announced the sale of its email marketing assets to an unnamed buyer in a $49 million cash deal.

TrendKite announced its intent to provide a one-stop digital PR tool when it bought Insightpool and Union Metrics in June 2018. This is Cision's second acquisition of 2019.

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