2011 Local Commerce M&A Saw Most Activity in Daily Deals

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2011 was an intensely active year for the local marketing and commerce M&A market, with 186 transactions logged — up 40% from 2010. Groupon, Google, LivingSocial and eBay led the way in acquisitions, gobbling up smaller companies in a move to further solidify their position in the local marketing arena. Major acquisitions include eBay’s purchase of local targeting company WHERE for $135 million, Reply’s $60 million MerchantCircle purchase, and Google’s $151 million purchase of Zagat. A glimpse at the amount of transactions:

Such activity is expected to continue as hyperlocal companies continue to battle it out for the $43 billion local advertising market. Thanks to companies like these, an increasing number of local merchants are turning to daily deals, location-based services and other hyperlocal channels that offer transparency and real ROI. With just a portion of this segment still in the test phase, there remains a huge opportunity, and consolidation will only continue as the bigger players shore up their offerings and the smaller players run out of the cash to wait out the growth. (You can read more about local merchant trends in The Local Merchant, a recent white paper from Street Fight.)

The $43 billion local commerce sector, in particular, is undergoing transformation as new and old players identify new hyperlocal marketing channels for converting customers into buyers, repeat customers and advocates.

Below, find a slideshow that provides a framework for understanding the mechanics of and M&A activity in this exploding space: