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There's Still Money Going Into Mobile, but the Exit Rate Is Slowing

While a lot of money is still going into the mobile sector, the rate of stock offerings and acquisitions is on a downward trend.

Penguin Random House

That the mobile industry is seeing a huge amount of investment is certainly indisputable.

But the fact is that when it comes to acquisitions and going public, things are slowing down.

“While the mobile exit market (M&As and IPOs) outpaced investment market growth up to the second quarter 2014, it has been trending downward since the mobile IPO fiesta of Q3 2013 to Q2 2014,” said Tim Merel, managing director of San Francisco-based Digi-Capital. In the first quarter of 2015 there were $15 billion worth of mobile deals, but Merel notes that was only $1 billion higher than the level of investment.

“If this happened in just a single quarter there wouldn’t be much of a trend, but things have been heading in that direction (with significant variance) since the start of 2014,” Merel said, summarizing a new report from his company.

20150520 Digi-Capital Mobile Investment Chart

Valuations also vary widely by sector, he said.

Among the richly valued parts of the market are areas like social, games, mobile commerce and messaging, while the music, advertising and navigation markets carry below-average valuations.

“Looking inside each sector tells a tale of two markets,” Merel said. While some sectors have only average valuations, others have valuations up to nine times higher. “In other words, mobile Internet has both normalized and frothy valuations in different sectors, and only understanding each individual sector gives the full picture,” Merel said.

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