This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the tech industry for October 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 previous year’s Octobers …
Five years ago in October Twenty-Ten Bell Canada bought a data center in Montreal (Hypertec) and picked up xwave from its subsidiary Bell Aliant. Rogers paid $425 million for Atria networks and IBM picked up Toronto based Clarity Systems.
A year later in October 2011 an industry icon, Steve Jobs passed away and IBM announced Virginia Rometty as their first female CEO. On the M&A front Oracle made a couple of buys, including RightNow Technologies ($1.5 Billion) and Endeca Technologies; Sony bought Ericsson out of their Sony Ericsson joint venture ($1.5 Billion); Red Hat bought storage company Gluster ($136 million); and Cisco bought BNI Video ($99 million).
Three years ago the October 2012 news was dominated by Hurricane Sandy and the US presidential election. The big deal of the month was a $1.5 billion merger of two US cell carriers, T-Mobile and MetroPCS. There were also a number of smaller deals, with EMC beefing up in the security area (Silver Tail), Telus expanding its medical solutions portfolio (Kinlogix Medical) and Avnet improving its IBM capabilities (BrightStar and BSP). In the social networking world Yelp bought its European competitor Qype in a $50 million deal.
October 2013 was not a dynamic M&A month, although there was certainly some activity. Oracle announced two acquisitions, both “cloud based companies: Big Machines provides pricing and quote date for sales and orders; and Compendium is a content marketing company. Other “names” out shopping included Avaya buying the software division of ITNavigator for its call centre and social media monitoring software; Rackspace bought ZeroVM a tech company with a software solution for the cloud; Intuit bought consulting company Level Up Analytics, primarily to acquire its talent; VMWare bought “desktop as a service” company Desktone; Netsuite bought human capital software company TribeHR; and Telus enhanced its mobile offering with the purchase of Public Mobile.
Last year in October 2014 we saw a new trend, with two public companies both choosing to split into smaller entities. HP announced it was creating a business service focused Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and personal computing & printer company HP Inc. Interestingly enough this takes effect November 1, 2015. Symantec also chose to split into two independent public companies, one focused on business and consumer security products, the other on its information management portfolio. Other interesting news saw IBM pay $1.5 Billion to GlobalFoundries so it would take away its money losing semiconductor manufacturing business. NEST bought out competitor Revolv; EMC bought three cloud companies, The Cloudscaling Group, Maginatics and Spanning Cloud Apps; and in Korea, Kakao and Daum merged to form a $2.9 billion internet entity.
Which brings us back to the present …
October 2015 brought some big deals with the biggest seeing Dell offer $26 billion to buy storage company EMC. Interestingly an EMC subsidiary, VMWare was also out shopping, picking up a small email startup, Boxer. In another deal involving “big bucks”, Western Digital are paying $19 billion for storage competitor Sandisk. IBM were also writing a big cheque, paying $2 billion in a big data/internet of things play for The Weather Network (minus the TV operations), and IBM also picked up a storage company, Cleversafe.
Cisco paid $522.5 million for cybersecurity firm Lancope; LogMeIn is paying $110 million for LastPass; Trend Micro is paying $350 million for next generation intrusion prevention systems company HP Tippingpoint; Red Hat picked up deployment task execution and automation company Ansible; Vasco Data Security is paying $85 million for solution provider Silanis; and Apple is buying a speech processing startup, VocalIQ. As industries converge it is interesting to see Securitas pay $350 million for Diebold’s US Electronic Security business.
Other companies in the news include Twitter who announced 336 layoffs; Apple lost a patent fight with the University of Wisconsin to the tune of $234 million (of course they also recorded record profits of more than $5 billion). Google are launching a neat project to bring the internet to 100,000 Indonesian people using balloons (Project Loon).
The US economy continues to impress, adding another 200,000 jobs and having generally positive indicators from surveys and reports. There are signs that the growth is slowing but this is just to be expected. Canada added 12,100 jobs in September but the unemployment rate rose to 7.1%. A new Liberal government was voted in, so we will watch how that works out.
That is my update on tech news for October 2015 … until next month, stay positive, walk fast and smile!