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August IT Industry News

Every month I take a 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry. This is my overview of August's news, with a brief reminder of what was news in August the last couple of years! What you see here is a precis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available at the Eagle website over the next day or two. Two years ago in August 2006 IBM was busy buying four companies ISS ($1.3B), FileNet ($1.6B), MRO Software ($740M) and Webify; Sandisk bought M-Systems ($1.6B) and LogicaCMG bought WM-data Nordic ($1.5B). There were also a number of announced layoffs at CSC, CA, AOL and Sun. Last year in August 2007 Acer paid $700M for Gateway and Wipro bought US company Infocrossing for $600M. Hackers were in the news having scooped 1.6 million records from Monster and a study suggested hacking attempts on banks were up 80%. So what about August 2008 ... in addition to more lousy Summer weather the month has ended with Hurricane Gustav trashing the Caribbean and heading towards the US coast. There has been almost as much bad news with the economy as with the weather! Spherion tell us that worker confidence is down and both Canadian and US employment numbers fell. Having said that predictions are for pretty healthy spending in the IT space with Gartner predicting an 8% increase in spending this year, to $3.4 Trillion. On the M&A front there was a fair bit of activity this month, which is consistent with a down economy when stronger companies look to improve their position through lowered valuations and by taking advantage of weakened acquisition prospects. Amongst the big movers this month Ricoh paid $1.6B for Ikon Office Solutions, Bae (UK) bid $1B for Detica Group (UK), and Compucom bought Getronics (former Wang) to form a $2.1 B company. Hard on their heels was a big move by Indian outsourcing company Infosys, paying $750M plus for Axon group in the UK. A biggish one for Canada was the private equity buy of Q9 networks for $360M by CDC Acquisition. Other notable companies on the acquisition trail included IBM, Oracle, HP, Nortel (a couple of small ones), AOL, McAfee and Google. That's what caught my eye over the last month, for more details go to the Eagle web site where the full edition should be available over the next couple of business days. Hope this was useful and I'll be back with September's news in just about a month's time.