This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the Tech industry for December 2017. 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
Five years ago, in December 2012 there was a fair amount of M&A activity with Oracle making two acquisitions, marketing automation company Eloqua ($871 million) and Dataraker which provides analytics for utilities companies. The big deal of the month saw Sprint pay $2.2 Billion to take full control of cellular competitor Clearwire. Montreal based Cogeco paid $635 million for Peer 1 Networks and NCR paid $635 million for retail software and services company Retalix. In the BYOD space Citrix bought mobile device management company Zenprise for $355 million. Finally, Redknee added 1200 employees and 130 new clients through the purchase of Nokia Siemens’ Business Support Network. December 2013 was a slow month, however Oracle pulled off a $1.5 billion buy of marketing software company Responsys; Akamai paid $370 million for cloud-based security solutions provider Prolexic; JDS Uniphase paid $200 million for enterprise performance management company Network Instruments; IBM bought a “big data” file compression company Aspera and Hitachi expended its solutions capability with the purchase of Calgary based Ideaca. In other company news Target, although not an IT company, had a major security breach involving details of 40 million debit and credit cards. Three years ago December 2014 was not such a slow news month, with the political and technical ramifications of “the Sony hack” causing uproar, some very positive economic indicators out of the US and some big names making acquisitions, albeit not huge deals. Microsoft made two acquisitions, the $200 million purchase of mobile email app startup Acompli and mobile development company HockeyApp (which has nothing to do with hockey). SAP bought travel and expense management company Concur; Intel bought a Montreal based identity management company PasswordBox; Oracle bought digital marketing company Datalogix; Teradata bought data archiving company Rainstor; and MongoDB bought high-scale storage engine company WiredTiger. December 2015 was not a busy M&A month but there was some interesting activity. The big deal saw Canadian telco Shaw make a big play into the cellular space with its proposed acquisition of Wind for $1.6 billion. Meanwhile Rogers was also out shopping and growing its Maritimes presence through the acquisition of Internetworking Atlantic Inc. Other deals in December were not large but did feature some of the big players. Oracle bought Stackhouse a cloud company with a specialization in “containers”; IBM boosted its video in the cloud capabilities with the purchase of Clearleap; and Microsoft picked up a mobile communications company, Talko. Other deals saw Ingram Micro buy the Odin Service Automation business from Parallels and in the storage world Carbonite bought Evault from Seagate. Last year in December 2016 Adecco sold its majority stake in Beeline VMS to GTRC, a private equity firm, for $100 million in cash plus a $30 million note; CRN solution provider SS&C purchased asset service firm Conifer for $88.5 million; solution provider QRX Technology Group acquired IT equipment provider Kerr Norton; networking solution provider, Juniper Networks acquired cloud operations management provider AppFormix; Uber bought start-up Geometric Intelligence Inc.; and Shopify acquired Tiny Hearts, a Toronto-based mobile product development studio. Yahoo hit the news revealing that one billion accounts were hacked in 2013 making it the largest data breach recorded in history.
Which brings us back to the present …
December 2017 saw Atos enhance the footprint of their IT Services firm by paying $5 billion for Gemalto. Apple were busy, paying $400 million for music recognition app Shazam plus they invested $390 million into optical communications components company Finisar. Finally, in a relatively quiet M&A month Ingram Micro increased its data protection capability through the purchase of Cloud Harmonics.
The Canadian economy had some positive indicators, adding jobs and reducing the unemployment rate to 5.9%. The US also continued its growth rate, albeit at a slightly reduced pace although the announced tax changes for business are going to provide a significant stimulus. Generally reports from around the globe were fairly positive, with job growth and reduced unemployment in most countries.
There was a cautionary report about ransomware in Canada that might suggest up to 44% of SMBs were hit with ransomware in a 12 month period.
That’s what I saw affecting the tech industry for December 2017.
Until next month Walk Fast and Smile!
Kevin Dee is the founder and Chairman of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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