This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the Tech industry for August 2017. What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.
A Little History of August in previous years …
Five years ago in August 2012 M&A was slow with IBM busiest, paying $1.3 billion for HR solutions and services company Kenexa, plus they bought flash memory developer, Texas Memory Systems. The other “big name” deal was Google’s purchase of social media marketing company Wildfire Interactive, reputedly for $250 million.
In August 2013 IBM paid $1 billion for Trusteer, a cybersecurity company specialized in the financial services sector; Qualcomm sold its fleet management software unit for $800 million to private equity firm Vista Equity Partners; and the other big dollar buy was AOL paying $405 million for online video company Adap.tv. Facebook bought speech recognition company Mobile Technology; Software AG bought analytics firm Jackbe; Opentext paid $33 million for cloud based software company Cordys; and SAP bought ecommerce company Hybris.
August 2014 saw no blockbuster deals, however a number of big name companies were out with their cheque books. Intel paid $650 million for the LSI Axxia networking chip business; Vmware bought application delivery provider CloudVolumes; IBM bought Lighthouse Security Group to bolster its cloud based identity and access management capabilities; Google bought two startups, Emu to boost its messaging capabilities and Directr for its video advertising business; Facebook bought a security startup Privatecore, and the last BIG name saw Yahoo buying app company Zofari.
Two years ago in August 2015 there were two billion dollar deals. Symantec sold Veritas (which it paid $13.5 Billion dollars for 10 years ago) to a group of investors for $8 Billion. IBM also paid ”big bucks”, shelling out $1 billion for Merge Healthcare. Smaller deals saw Calgary based Above Security bought by Hitachi; Transcomos bought 30% of Vietnamese daily deals site Hotdeal; Freshdesk bought live-chat company 1Click; and PLDT bought ecommerce startup Paywhere.
Last year August 2016 saw a fair bit of M&A activity although there were no billion dollar deals. The largest deal saw global staffing company Randstad buy one of the larger job boards, Monster for $429 million. A similar sized deal saw Intel shell out $408 million for artificial intelligence company Nervana. Hewlett Packard Enterprises paid $275 million for SGI (what was left of Silicon Graphics); Apple paid $200 million for artificial intelligence company, (there is a pattern here), Turi; Salesforce bought business analytics company Beyondcore for $100 million; and ScanSource paid $83.6 million for telecom cloud services company Intelisys Communications. Other acquisitions saw Microsoft snap up two companies, artificial intelligence scheduling software company Genee in addition to their XBox division buying interactive livestreaming company Beam. Nutanix bought two companies to bolster its Enterprise Cloud Platform, Calm.io, a DevOps automation company and PernixData, which offers data analytics and acceleration capabilities. Other smaller deals saw Palantir, an analytics and consulting company buy data visualization startup, Silk; and Magnitude software bought Vancouver based, data access and analytics company Simba.
Which brings us back to the present …
August 2017, as has been the case for most of this year was relatively slow on the M&A front. Symantec is selling its website security business to DigiCert for $1 billion, plus a stake in the larger entity. Cisco paid $320 million for hyperconvergence company Springpath, CGI bought consulting company in Pittsburgh, Summa Technologies and Accenture bought a Toronto consulting company VERAX. While not a pure tech play the biotech world saw Aclaris pay $100million for Confluence.
The Canadian economic indicators were mixed, but new proposed tax reforms, NAFTA negotiations, new labour laws in Ontario and an impending carbon tax will hurt clearly have a negative impact on the Canadian economy. Meanwhile, the US economy seems to keep adding jobs and have fairly positive indicators.
It is also interesting to look at the various job situations around the world noting very low unemployment in places like Japan, Germany and Hong Kong with very high unemployment in France, Greece and Spain. The impact of Brexit on the London job market also seems to be a growing factor.
That’s what caught my eye over the last month, the full edition will be available soon on the Eagle website. Hope this was useful and I’ll be back with the September 2017 industry news in just about a month’s time.
Until then, Walk Fast and Smile!
Kevin Dee is the founder and Chairman of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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