This is my 30,000-foot look at events in the ICT industry for August 2019. 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 2014, there were 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.
In August 2015, there were two “billion dollar” deals. Symantec sold Veritas (which it paid $13.5 billion dollars for 10 years prior) to a group of investors for $8 billion and IBM shelled 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.
Three years ago, 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 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.
August 2017 was relatively slow on the M&A front. Symantec sold 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 a Pittsburgh consulting company, 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.
Last year, August 2018 saw a fair amount of M&A activity: a lot of smaller deals, a few significant moves and some recognizable names were out buying companies. The big deal of the month saw Cisco pay $2.35 billion for access security company Duo Security. In other deals, VMWare paid $500 million for cloud management company CloudHealth; and HP splashed out $500 million for Europe’s largest print provider, Apogee. Apple snapped up Augmented reality startup Akonia; Accenture made two small acquisitions in the digital space, Mindtribe and Pillar Technology; Intel picked up a small AI company Vertex.Ai and Vonage paid $35 million for video company TokBox. Apple was also in the news because it became the first public company to reach a $1 trillion valuation, and they were quickly followed by Amazon.
Which brings us back to the present …
August 2019 was a busy month in M&A, with the big deal getting mixed reviews as Broadcom paid $10.7 billion for Symantec’s security unit. Some saw this as old tech buying old tech, but for Broadcom it provides diversity of offering. VMWare had a busy month paying $4.8 billion to acquire Carbon Black and Pivotal, and then announcing the acquisition of Intrinsic. Private equity company BC Partners is paying $2.1 billion to take Presidio private, and Salesforce paid $1.35 billion for ClickSoftware to improve its service capability. The final deal in the BIG dollar leagues saw Splunk pay $1.05 billion for cloud monitoring platform SignalFx. Accenture was busy this month, announcing two acquisitions; Northstream, a telecom consulting company plus engineering company, Fairways Technologies. DXC spin-off Perspecta paid $250 million for managed services company Knight Point and there were a number of other “big name” companies making acquisitions; Amazon bought E8 Storage; Cisco bought Voicea; Microsoft bought JClarity; Twitter bought Lightwell and HPE bought the assets of MapR.
Other companies in the news included Apple, who, responding to concerns about their Siri recordings, laid off hundreds of workers who used to work with this “data”. Google announced it is closing its Google Hire offering and Cisco announced layoffs in California.
There were several interesting stories this month related to cyber security and various scams. The underlying message to individuals and organizations being that training, tools and vigilance are needed to combat the “bad actors”.
Major economic indicators in the US were generally positive, although economists have started wondering when the next recession swill hit, 2020 or 2021. Canada had mixed job numbers depending upon who you believe and job indicators across the world were generally positive, although Germany’s economy is struggling and the UK continues to deal with the Brexit debacle.
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 2019 industry news in just about a month’s time.
Walk Fast and Smile
Kevin Dee is the founder and Chairman of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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