This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for April 2012. 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.
The big M&A deal in April 2008 saw a merger of the third and fourth largest chip makers STMicroelectronics and NXP into a $3 Billion company (interesting that April 2011 sees another such merger). IBM was busy, making three smaller acquisitions this month Diligent, FilesX and InfoDyne; Yahoo bought Tensa Kft. Despite the attentions of Microsoft; and speaking of Microsoft they had a couple of acquisitions Farecast and Komoku; EMC also had a couple of forays into the M&A market with Iomega and Conchango plc.
Three years ago in April 2009 other than the recession, the news for the month in the technology world was Oracle’s $7.4 Billion purchase of Sun and thus entry into the hardware business! This was not the only big deal with EBay offering $1.2 billion for Gmarket (a Korean EBay), Harris Corp paying $675 million for Tyco Electronic wireless division and perhaps an end to Satyam’s immediate problems with a $422 million purchase by Tech Mahindra.
In April 2010 HP paid $1.2 Billion in the somewhat surprising purchase of Palm; Twitter bought a couple of companies, Cloudhopper and Atebits. Symentec also bought a couple of companies (PGP ($300 Million) and GuardianEdge ($70 Million). Oracle paid $685 Million for Phase Forward, Juniper paid about $100 Million for Ankeena Networks and Salesforce bought Jigsaw for $142 Million.
Last year in April 2011 there were several billion dollar deals, with Texas Instruments paying $6.5 billion for National Semiconductor, Level 3 Communications paid $3 Billion for Global Crossing, Lawson Software was sold for $2 Billion to an Infor affiliate, GGC Software Holdings and Seagate bought the hard disk drive operations of Samsung to become one of the two largest players in that space.
Which brings us back to the present …
April 2012 and Facebook was in the news with its $1 billion bid for Instagram making a splash in the social network world. The other big deal also involved Facebook, who bought a piece of the patent action from Microsoft after Microsoft had paid AOL more than $1 billion for the patents. These kind of patent deals are becoming quite mainstream, and this was a way for struggling AOL to inject some cash. The other big news in the M&A world was DELL who made three acquisitions this month, Wyse technology, Clerity Solutions and Make Technologies that all help broaden the DELL offering beyond hardware. In other M&A news IBM picked up Toronto based BI company Varicent Software; Intel paid 4140 million for some assets from Cray; Citrix picked up Podio; and Twitter bought a startup to acquire its team of developers.
In other news a couple of struggling big name companies saw some high profile departures. Best buy CEO Brian Dunn left abruptly and RIM’s former co-CEO Jim Balsillie resigned from the board. IBM’s female CEO might just be the catalyst for the Augusta national Golf Club to enter the 20th century (never mind the 21st!) and allow women in! (Watch that space). Sony announced more layoffs … another 5,000 to join the already announced 5,000 and Yahoo also announced it would lay off 2,000 people in its corporate restructuring.
The economies around the world continue to struggle, with Spain hitting record unemployment and UK employment continuing to fall. There were a couple of bright light reports out of Ireland however and North America seems to be faring better. Canada’s economy is comparatively strong and continues to add jobs … the better news however was the several positive indicators out of the US. Increased CEO confidence, unemployment falling, tech jobs back to pre-recession levels and real GDP rising even if only slightly.
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 May 2012 industry news in just about a month’s time, until then … walk fast and smile!
Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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