This is my 30,000-foot look at events in the Tech industry for March 2020. 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 in March 2015 HP paid $3 billion for Aruba Networks; Lexmark paid $1 billion for customer management software company Kofax; eCommerce company Rakuten paid $410 million for ebook marketplace Overdrive; Cheetah Mobile paid $58 million for mobile ad network MobPartner; 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 paid $10.4 billion for Bright House Networks.
March 2016 saw the $3 billion sale of Dell Services to NTT, a direct result of Dell’s restructuring following the recent purchase of EMC. IBM was out bolstering its services business with a couple of acquisitions; the first was Optevia, a UK-based integrator focused on Microsoft Dynamics; and the second was Bluewolf Group, a global Salesforce consulting partner. Montreal-based Yellow Pages picked up Toronto-based Juice Mobile, primarily for its mobile marketing capability. Another Toronto company, Influitive, raised some cash ($8.2 million) and bought a couple of mobile app companies, Ironark Software and Triggerfox; and Netsuite bought IOity solutions, a cloud-based manufacturing software company.
Three years ago, in March 2017, Intel bought Israeli computer vision company, Mobileye, for a hefty $15.3 billion. HPE bought storage solution provider, Nimble, for $1 billion. Amazon Web Services, a public cloud infrastructure provider, acquired Thinkbox Software, a company that provides software for managing media rendering workloads. Mozilla acquired Pocket, a startup that developed an app for saving articles and other content.
In March 2018 there was a significant amount of M&A activity. The deal of the month saw Salesforce pay $6.5 billion for cloud integration company Mulesoft. Plantronics paid $2 billion for unified communications company Polycom; and Amazon paid $1 billion for smart home company Ring. Other deals saw eBay shell out $700 million for the commerce platform Qoo10; Cognizant buy Bolder Healthcare Solutions; HPE Aruba buy Cape Networks; VMWare buy security company, E8; and Deloitte pick up API Talent in New Zealand. It is also nice to see Avaya buying Spoken Communications after leaving Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Last year in March 2019, the big deal of the month saw Nvidia shell out $6.9 billion for data centre solutions vendor, Mellanox. F5 Networks paid $670 million for up and coming competitor NGINX; and Juniper Networks paid $40 million for AI startup Mist Systems. Some other deals this month were Apple’s acquisition of machine learning startup LaserLike; Veritas’ acquisition of analytics company Aptare; Mastercard bought security company Ethoca; and Spotify added to its podcast capability with the purchase of Parcast. Other companies in the news included Lyft, which was the first of several high-profile tech companies with planned IPOs in 2019; SAP who announced a major round of layoffs and SAS who joined the growing number of companies investing big in AI, announcing a $1billion investment.
Which brings us back to the present …
In March 2020, the big news is all about the impact around the world of the COVID-19 pandemic. The economic and employment fallout have been dramatic, and there is significant uncertainty about how quickly people can get back to work. So the messages for the period are stay home, wash your hands and don’t touch your face! Stay safe people!
There was some M&A activity worthy of mention, including the $34.9 billion bid for HP, and subsequent withdrawal by Xerox. No doubt that will resurface at some point in the future! Veritas Capital is buying DXC’s Health and Human Services business for $5 billion; Private Equity firm Hellman & Friedman is paying $1.15 billion for software security testing company Checkmarx; Palo Alto Networks is buying CloudGenix for $420 million; and Accenture is paying $139 million for security consulting company, Context Information Security. Other deals saw Watchguard buy Panda Security and NetApp buy Talon Software.
In the wake of so many layoffs there are bright spots around the world as some companies are staffing up. A couple of notable announcements include Amazon, who announced they would be hiring an additional 100,000 people and increasing wages for their hourly workers; and Walmart who announced they would hire 150,000 people.
That is it for my monthly 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 in about a month’s time, until then … walk fast and smile!
Kevin Dee is the founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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