M&A activity for media continued to drag through the third quarter as wariness over market conditions hung over potential buyers.

The $21.9 billion Publicis/Omnicom merger drove industry averages up considerably, but underlying deal value declined 23 percent year-over-year to $43.2 million, according to the Jordan, Edmiston Group (JEGI). Volume stayed flat with 1,057 transactions.

Strategic purchasers have continued to be significantly more active than private equity, accounting for 84 percent of total deals through Q3, JEGI notes.

"We expect the M&A market to continue to be dominated by small strategic transactions, due to the uncertain environment in the U.S. caused by political gridlock, a sluggish economy, and the implementation of Obamacare and numerous other government regulations," the company says in its forecast. "Larger transactions will likely focus on aggregation and consolidation among mature or legacy companies." 

Consumer and b-to-b media each continued to track as they had through the first half of the year.

B-to-c online media and technology (169 deals; $5.3 billion) trended slightly downward, posting 13- and 14-percent declines in volume and value, respectively. Bolstered by Funke Mediengruppe’s $1.2 billion purchase of several Axel Springer properties, transaction value in the consumer magazine sector (36 deals; $1.7 billion) is 607-percent higher than it was in 2012, though volume has remained flat.

The b-to-b online media and technology segment (53 deals; $402 million) was down 24 percent in volume and 97 percent in value year-over-year—partially due to the absence of a large purchase offsetting 2012’s $7.1 billion Alibaba-Yahoo deal—while traditional b-to-b media (29 deals; $423 million) saw increases in both value (81 percent) and volume (21 percent).

Activity in exhibitions and conferences (45 deals; $2.3 billion) and mobile media (110 deals; $5.5 billion)—two segments of increasing relevance to publishers—continued to rise.