Top 5 M&A Deals For 2022/2023 Every Marketing Professional Should Know

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Are you tired of hearing about the same old boring news? A cat up a tree, the weather getting slightly warmer, that actor dating that musician who dated that politician that one time. 

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Well, fear not, dear reader, because we've got some spicy updates for you. We're talking about martech deals that are so hot, they'll make your CRM melt. These deals are so wild, they'll make you want to ditch your spreadsheets and start using smoke signals to communicate with your team. Okay, I'll stop now. 

As businesses become increasingly reliant on technology to drive sales and engage customers, marketing technology (martech) has emerged as a critical component of marketing operations.

With the ever-growing need for businesses to optimise their marketing and sales processes, it comes as no surprise that major companies have been making significant acquisitions to strengthen their martech capabilities.

So, we’re taking a look at some of the top martech deals that took place in 2022 and what they mean for the martech and marketing operations space in 2023.

Salesforce Acquires Troops.ai

In November 2022, Salesforce announced its acquisition of Troops.ai, a 2016-founded revenue and communication platform, for an undisclosed sum. Troops.ai uses bots in Microsoft Teams and Slack to provide customer relationship management (CRM) data from platforms like Salesforce. The acquisition will see Troops and its staff joining Slack, which Salesforce acquired in 2020.

The acquisition of Troops.ai will likely result in a more comprehensive set of martech tools for Salesforce and Slack users. With Troops.ai's expertise in CRM data integration and automation, Salesforce and Slack users can expect to see improved customer engagement and sales outcomes. Salesforce has been a leader in the martech space, and this acquisition is another indication of its commitment to providing businesses with innovative martech solutions.

More2 Joins the Sideshow Group

Sideshow Group announced its acquisition of more2, a leading marketing and data science business, in May 2022. More2 helps retail and direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands harness the power of their customer data to make confident decisions and achieve profitable growth. The company has spent over 20 years delivering strategy and building proprietary models, tools, and capabilities for growing consumer brands.

The acquisition of more2 by Sideshow Group is significant as it highlights the growing importance of customer data in marketing operations. More2's expertise in customer data analysis and insight, combined with Sideshow Group's global network of specialists, will enable clients to benefit from a complete range of martech solutions. The increased headcount resulting from the acquisition will also allow for a more comprehensive approach to delivering solutions to clients.

Twitter's Acquisition by Elon Musk

In April 2022, Elon Musk, the world's richest man at the time, became Twitter's top shareholder with a 9.1% stake.

In October 2022, Musk surprised industry watchers when he submitted an unsolicited offer of US$44 billion to purchase the platform. The sale was finalised six months later, and Musk sacked the majority of Twitter's staff and top executives right away, taking ownership of and becoming the CEO of the social media platform.

Musk's acquisition of Twitter has left industry watchers perplexed about his plans and goals for the platform. However, one potential implication of the acquisition is the potential for Twitter to become a more effective marketing channel for businesses.

With Musk at the helm, Twitter could introduce new features that enable businesses to engage with customers in innovative ways. It remains to be seen how the acquisition will affect Twitter's martech capabilities, but it is one to watch out for in 2023.

Microsoft acquires Nuance Communications for $19.7 billion

On March 4, 2022, Microsoft announced that it had acquired Nuance Communications, a leading provider of conversational AI and ambient intelligence solutions used across a wide range of industries, including healthcare, financial services, retail, and telecommunications.

The acquisition was one of the largest in Microsoft's history, costing $19.7 billion.

With the acquisition, the Cloud + AI Group at Microsoft now includes Nuance, which is being utilized to develop cloud-based AI solutions for patient, employee, and consumer services.

This acquisition has significant implications for the healthcare industry in particular, as Nuance's expertise in voice recognition and AI could help to revolutionize patient care.

What this means for 2022/2023: Microsoft's acquisition of Nuance is likely to have a significant impact on the healthcare industry in particular. Expect to see the development of new AI-powered solutions that improve patient care and streamline administrative processes.

Stagwell Acquires Maru

Stagwell, the challenger network built to transform marketing, acquired Maru Group, a leading software platform with unique implicit response capabilities for experience and insights generation. This deal means that Maru became part of the Stagwell Marketing Cloud (SMC), a suite of proprietary SaaS and DaaS tools for in-house marketing teams. 

Maru's suite provides real-time access to insight and results, bringing into one ecosystem adaptive interpretation of behavioural, transactional, and attitudinal consumer data.

By joining SMC, Maru is now able to scale its services to some of the fastest-growing brands worldwide, translating its belief that understanding the intersection between behaviour and emotion is critical to establishing the strongest possible consumer connection to drive better business results.

According to Mark Penn, Chairman, and CEO of Stagwell, Maru is a sophisticated "research as a service" partner that will be a great addition to the Stagwell Marketing Cloud, rounding out its research offering from full-service analytical to do-it-yourself. Maru's research is built for enterprise-scale but in simple, convenient, and affordable ways, which fits well with Stagwell's disruptive challenger mentality.

The deal is expected to strengthen SMC's global client list and presence, including in Buenos Aires, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Southampton, Toronto, and Vancouver. Maru joins Stagwell's other recent acquisition, the AI-powered platform Apollo Program, which taps digital data including in-app behaviour to uncover consumer, creative, and contextual insights for marketing use.

Overall, the acquisition of Maru by Stagwell was a significant move in the martech and marketing operations space. It enables Stagwell to offer more sophisticated research as a service to its clients while providing Maru with access to more brands and greater reach. This year, we can expect to see Stagwell Marketing Cloud continue to evolve and grow with the integration of Maru's capabilities.