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IT Industry News - November 2011

This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for November 2011. 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 previous year’s Novembers …

 Four years ago in November 2007 was an active M&A market with IBM paying $5 Billion for Cognos, Telus buying Emergis and  Randstad buying Vedior (to create the second largest staffing company in the world). 

In November 2008 the big news was the economic maelstrom that took the world by storm.  There was some M&A activity with AT&T paying $944 Million for Centennial Communications and Fujitsu paid $575 Million to buy out Siemens from a joint venture but the biggest “noise” was about layoffs and the general impact of the recession. 

Two years ago in November 2009 there was still a “hangover” from the recession, but the general mood was more optimistic.  There were still layoff announcements, Adobe (680), Microsoft (800), and Rogers (900) all announced layoffs and Right Management told us that as many as 80% of employees may look to change job as the economy recovers!   The big news in M&A saw HP buying 3-Com for $2.7 Billion and Nortel continued to sell off its assets, this time its Metro Ethernet Networks business to Cienna for $769 Million.  Google also made a couple of acquisitions, including paying $750 million for AdMob. 

In November Twenty-Ten perennial acquirer EMC paid $2.25 billion for Isilion;  Attachmate bought Novell for $2.2 Billion;  Oracle paid $1 Billion for Art Technology Group; NTT paid $1 Billion for Keane; Amazon paid $500 million for Quidsi; and Juniper Networks bought Trapeze Networks for $152 million.

Which brings us back to the present …

In November 2011 world economies continue to be affected by the sovereign debt issues of the EU and US, and an inability of those governments involved to actually “do what needs to be done”.  There is some optimism that these issues will at least receive some relief by year end, which will help … a little!

In the meantime Canadian job figures were not great, losing ground again to the tune of 19,000 jobs in November following a loss of 54,000 in October however the Staffing Index was at its highest score in almost three years suggesting the job situation isn’t all bad.

The big names were noticeably absent in the M&A space this month however there was some activity.  The Mosaid saga finally ended with Sterling partners paying $590 million, ending the WiLan hostile takeover attempt.  Japanese company Rakuten paid $315 million for e-book company Kobo; Huawei technologies bought Symentec out of a storage and security joint venture to the tune of $530 million; Yahoo paid $270 million for online advertising company Interclick; and Best Buy paid $167 million for internet technology company Mindshift.

Other names in the news this month include CSC whose scrutiny by the SEC was widened to include their Australia operations.  A company struggling in a changed world is Nokia, who announced it will lay off 17,000 people in its global operations.  AMD also announced it will lay off 10% of its workforce as it tries to find its place in an ever more competitive world.  On a more positive note Google announced that there are now more than 200 million Android phones activated, which is double the number in place just six months ago!

All of the economic news and surveys seem to show a weakening in optimism, and is largely due to world political events.  A general strike in the UK by public sector workers to protest planned pension changes, inter-Euro struggles to deal with mounting concern about the debt in several countries and a polarized political landscape in the US all conspire to bring us down.  The good news is that both the EU and the US need to act … or they will be hurting themselves more than others … so I am expecting more optimistic news in the coming months.

November was a strong growth month for Eagle, with Toronto and Calgary both extremely busy but most markets picking up.  If the US and EU can get their economies back to an even keel I believe we will be absolutely BOOMING here in Canada … until next month, stay positive, walk fast and smile!

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 December2011 industry news in just about a month’s time.