This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for March 2015. 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 March in previous years …
Five years ago, March 2010 saw a continuation of the economic recovery. It was a quiet month for M&A activity with CA buying both 3Tera for about $90 million and Nimsoft for $350 million. Chordiant was bought by Pegasytems for a little over $160 million, and the other notable deal was Avnet’s $340 million purchase of Bell Microproducts.
Three years ago, in March 2011 world events included Japan’s earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear woes. Montreal’s Radian6 was snapped up by Salesforce.com for about $276 million; Facebook made a couple of acquisitions in the mobile space Snaptu and Beluga; YouTube paid about $50 million for Next New Networks; McAfee bought database security firm Sentrigo; Cisco bought portal company newScale; Teradata bought data analytics startup Aster data … a continuation of the consolidation in the red hot data space; and OpenText bought a mobile app development tool vendor WeComm.
In March 2012 there was some activity with a couple of (then) young companies receiving significant capital Appirio ($60 million) and Hootsuite ($20 million). Cisco made a couple of acquisitions, paying a wopping $5 billion for video software and content company NDS Group in addition to a smaller network management buy, ClearAccess. NEC paid $450 million for the information management business of Convergys and Avaya paid $230 million for an Israeli videoconferenceing and telepresence company Radvision. Other companies on the acquisition trail were DELL, EMC, SafeNet, Avnet and The Utility Company.
Two years ago March 2013 saw some of the “usual suspects” making acquisitions, but there were no billion dollar deals announced. Oracle continued its move into the telco space with the purchase of Tekelec; Google bought a small Toronto University based company DNNresearch in the machine learning vertical; Microsoft sold Atlas Advertiser Suite to Facebook; and Yahoo bought Summly.
Last year in March 2014 Facebook made a, somewhat surprising, $2 Billion acquisition of virtual reality company Oculus VR. Intel also expanded its horizons with the $150 million acquisition of smart watch maker, Basis Science. SAP added to its purchasing software suite with the acquisition of Fieldglass and Telus made a couple of buys, Enode a management consulting company out of Quebec and Med Access an addition, in British Columbia, to their healthcare division.
Which brings us back to the present …
March 2015 saw some significant M&A activity with HP paying $3 billion for Aruba Networks; Lexmark paying $1 billion for customer management software company Kofax; eCommerce company Rakuten paid $410 million for ebook marketplace Overdrive; Cheetah Mobile is paying $58 million for mobile ad networkMobPartner; TeraGo Networks paid $33 million for cloud provider RackForce; IBM bought natural language and image processing company AlchemyAPI; and in the cable TV world Charter Communications is paying $10.4 billion for Bright House Networks.
Other companies in the news includes SAP laying off 3% of its workforce (2,250, jobs); Ericsson is cutting 2,200 jobs and Sharp is cutting 6,000 jobs. Aplle released details of its new Apple watch, and also had good news about its market positioning of mobile phone sales since its release of the iPhone 6.
For yet another month the reports and surveys out of the US were all positive demonstrating a strong recovery in that economy. Canada’s news was less than stellar with unemployment creeping up to 6.8% from 6.6% in January. The collapsing oil price is anticipated to cost 8,000 jobs in the Canadian oil patch. Another report suggests that skills shortages will see Canada short by 182,000 people in the tech sector by 2019.
On a final note the FAA moved a little bit on approval of drone deliveries in the US, however the limitations are likely to limit that industry in the near term.
That is it for my look at what was happening in the technology space over the last month, compared to the same month in previous years. I’ll be back at the end of April, until then …walk fast and smile!