By the final quarter of last year the affiliate sector seemed to have put the pandemic firmly in its rearview mirror. With the exception of Acroud, revenue and EBITDA improved on a year-on-year basis for all of the operators covered in the Affiliate Monitor.
However, much of this growth had been bought, with the two top-performing affiliates in terms of revenue growth – Better Collective and Raketech – having made significant acquisitions last year.
The former’s €44m addition of Atemi Group to its business at the start of the quarter brought an immediate boost and saw it eclipse Catena Media to become market leader during the fourth quarter.
The latter’s Lead Republik acquisition of early last year was evidently paying off by the end of the year, while its buyout of American Gambler in November may take longer to filter through to its results.
At the other end of the leaderboard, long-time laggard Acroud is hoping to turn things around via M&A. The company has been on something of an acquisition spree since the beginning of this year and has indicated there is more to come.
And after a two-year lull in any significant consolidation activity, Catena Media looks set to throw its hat back into the ring, stating during its fourth quarter conference call that M&A is back on the table. Whether or not it can regain its market-leading position using the strategy that helped get it there in the first place remains to be seen.
Editorial director, iGB