Global M&A Trends in Technology, Media and Telecommunications: 2023 Outlook

Capital discipline as well as strategic and opportunistic M&A will be consistent themes across the TMT sector for the coming months given the current economic environment.

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity in technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) is underpinned by long-term structural growth drivers—digitalisation isn’t going away, and businesses need to innovate and reconfigure in response to dynamic markets. Higher interest rates, inflation, the demand outlook, geopolitical tensions, supply chain disruption and increased regulations are all factors weighing on CEO and investor confidence. Accordingly, dealmakers will be more cautious in 2023, and the hurdle to do deals will be higher, especially larger ones which may attract greater regulatory scrutiny. Nonetheless, we expect that strategic deals and those involving high-quality target businesses will take place.

Successful dealmakers are likely to take advantage of the current economic climate by seeking to identify targets that may be starved for capital or that provide an accretive platform or technology. We expect to see creative structuring as dealmakers navigate the value gap between buyers and sellers given changing expectations around price. 

The increased cost of financing may affect transaction values, particularly for high-growth businesses focused on revenue growth and customer acquisition, which is more prevalent in TMT industries, and in larger deals for which financing will be more challenging. Cash-rich companies and investors may take advantage of lower asset prices in the coming months, and we are likely to see further public-to-private transactions, particularly among investors with US dollar-denominated balance sheets.

These signs point to opportunistic M&A in the near term and perhaps an increase in joint ventures (JVs), partnerships and other arrangements in an effort to get deals done.

Global M&A Trends in Technology, Media and Telecommunications: 2023 Outlook image

“We’re in tumultuous times for TMT M&A. Successful dealmakers will need to aggressively follow through on the deal investment thesis to generate returns. This will require robust value creation plans pre-deal, and well-executed implementations post-deal.”

Barry JaberStrategy&, Partner, Global Technology and Telecommunications Deals Leader, PwC UK

M&A hot spots

We expect the following areas to be hot spots of M&A activity in 2023:

Software stands strong

We expect software deals to continue to dominate the sector with a heavy share attributable to private equity (PE) investors. After accounting for more than half of software deals in 2022, PE investment will likely drive software deal volume in 2023 due to attractive business models which combine predictable revenues, high margins and strong cash conversion. We also expect software vendors themselves to acquire new capabilities and enter new markets.

Delayering telecoms

The delayering of the traditional, vertically integrated carrier model will keep pace as operators seek to monetise digital infrastructure. Active portfolio management and optimisation of multinational carrier groups within individual markets will continue to fund capital expenditure and next-generation network deployments. In line with these trends, we expect to see tower company (TowerCo), fibre, Internet of Things (IoT) and data centre deals in 2023.

The metaverse future

We expect companies that are well capitalised, with a strong belief in the future success of the metaverse, to be opportunistic and seek a first-mover advantage which will drive M&A activity. Currently in its infancy, the metaverse provides an innovative way for companies to position their brand and solutions for future success. As the metaverse matures, we expect to see advances in compression, graphics and other areas to enhance the user experience and drive commerce.

Video games’ big play

Investor interest in video game deals is expected to increase in 2023, although heightened regulatory scrutiny may create complexities for larger deals, as we have already seen in the US with the Federal Trade Commission’s focus on the gaming sector. The gaming industry’s loyal user base and original intellectual property create pathways to monetisation through subscriptions, advertising and in-app purchases. Coupled with developments in semiconductor, metaverse and software technology, these factors will keep the gaming space attractive.

“The digital landscape continues to shift at a rapid pace, introducing platforms and solutions which seek to enhance the user experience. This should drive M&A in 2023, as opportunistic players look to solidify their strategic position.”

Bart SpiegelGlobal Entertainment and Media Deals Leader, Partner, PwC US
Global TMT deal volumes and values: % of PE involvement, 2018-2022




PE involvement in deals (whether as the direct buyer, as an indirect buyer through a portfolio company acquisition or as the seller) has grown over the past five years from approximately one-third of deal volumes and values in 2018 to over one-half of deal volumes and values in 2022.

Software deals continue to dominate

Global technology deal volumes and values, 2018-2022


Software deals accounted for approximately two-thirds of tech deals activity and three-quarters of deal values in 2022. Although overall software deal volumes and values declined from 2021, activity in the sector remains above pre-pandemic levels.


Software deals accounted for approximately two-thirds of tech deals activity and three-quarters of deal values in 2022. Although overall software deal volumes and values declined from 2021, activity in the sector remains above pre-pandemic levels.

Key themes driving M&A activity in 2023

Cash is king

Increased interest rates and depressed equity prices have hampered two critical capital levers. Given the resulting higher cost of capital, many dealmakers are shifting their deal strategies to focus more heavily on deploying cash. Past market corrections presented unique opportunities for buyers with dry powder to strike deals at lower valuations, which positioned them well for gains in long-term shareholder value. We expect companies with strong balance sheets to be well positioned to transact in this capital-constrained environment.

Back to basics

Amidst waning valuations, a rising interest rate environment and reduced access to major capital markets, companies exhibiting strong fundamentals are becoming increasingly attractive as targets. Dealmakers have shifted their attention from targeting large platforms that lack a history of profitability to investing in business models which exhibit strong recurring revenue streams and higher margins. As such, we expect the elevated interest in midsize software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies with high margins to continue to drive transactions across the sector.

Regulations inhibit the global market

Regulatory uncertainty and geopolitical tensions are expected to further complicate dealmaking in 2023. Specifically, US antitrust and data privacy laws; European anti-monopoly regulations; increasing environmental, social and governance (ESG) requirements; and tensions with China may inhibit M&A activity. In Europe, regulators’ anti-monopolistic agendas have blocked mergers of equals in industries such as media in which consolidation is viewed as crucial to competing with international players. Furthermore, increased scrutiny on Big Tech, data privacy and ESG all point to why dealmakers will increasingly need to consider the regulatory environment in their deal strategies.

Back to Basic

Technology, Media & Telecommunications M&A 2023 outlook

The TMT sector is continually advancing and engineering new technologies, platforms and solutions to enhance capabilities across every industry. Sophisticated dealmakers appreciate these dynamics and will continue to engage in M&A that is accretive to their strategy and portfolio. While some may choose to sit on the sidelines during these times, those that have strong balance sheets and access to capital will be rewarded with opportunities to acquire incremental assets that can drive long-term growth and capabilities across sectors.

About the data
We have based our commentary on M&A trends on data provided by industry-recognised sources. Specifically, values and volumes referenced in this publication are based on officially announced transactions, excluding rumoured and withdrawn transactions, as provided by Refinitiv as of 31 December 2022 and as accessed on 2 January 2023. This has been supplemented by additional information from Dealogic and our independent research, and includes data derived from data provided under licence by Dealogic. Dealogic retains and reserves all rights in such licenced data. Certain adjustments have been made to the source information to align with PwC’s industry mapping.

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