This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for August 2013. 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 August in previous years …
Five years ago in August 2008 Ricoh paid $1.6B for Ikon Office Solutions, Bae (UK) bid $1B for Detica Group (UK), and Compucom bought Getronics (formerly Wang) to form a $2.1B company. Hard on their heels was a big move by Indian outsourcing company Infosys, paying $750M plus for Axon group in the UK. A biggish one for Canada was the private equity buy of Q9 networks for $360M by CDC. In August 2009, the unemployment news was still bleak and there were some household names making acquisitions, but no huge deals. Facebook bought Friendfind and Myspace bought iLike. Google enhanced its video capability with the purchase on On2 Technologies; Rim bought a mobile browser company Torch Mobile; and Fluke Networks improved its wireless capability with the purchase of Airmagnet. Three years ago in August 2010 Google made five acquisitions … Socialdeck, Angstro, Slide, Jambool and Like.com, but Intel spent the most money … paying $7.7 billion for McAfee AND $1.4 billion for Infinion Technology’s wireless division! IBM bought Datacap and Unica Corp; HP bought Fortify Software and Stratavia; 3M paid $900 million for Cogent; CA paid $200 million for Arcot Systems; and Rim, Cisco, Citrix and Nokia were all out shopping too! In addition to their two acquisitions HP lost CEO Mark Hurd to a scandal. In August 2011 Hurricane Irene hit the US coast, there was a mini-market crash and the world’s economies continued to struggle. Google paid $12.5 billion for Motorola Mobility and IBM paid $387 million to add Algorithmics to its analytics portfolio, they also bought UK based analytics company i2. Skype which was in the process of being merged into Microsoft, bought GroupMe, Bitly bought Twitterfeed and Citrix bought Ringcube. August 2012 was slow in the M&A space with IBM busiest, paying $1.3 billion for HR solutions and services company Kenexa. IBM also bought flash memory developer, Texas Memory Systems. The other “big name” deal was Google’s purchase of social media marketing company Wildfire Interactive, reputedly for $250 million. Closer to home, Quebec’s 20-20 Technologies was sold for $77 million to private equity company Vector Capital Corp.
Which brings us back to the present …
August 2013 saw some interesting activity from a number of players. At a time when employee engagement is considered critical, it was disheartening to see Cisco announce record profits and lay off 4,000 people at the same time. Another company laying off was Blackberry which laid off another 100 employees this month while announcing it is looking at alternatives that include selling the company. Steve Ballmer announced that he will retire as CEO of Microsoft this year and Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon bought the Washington Post, which will be an interesting development to follow.
On the M&A front IBM reputedly paid $1 billion for Trusteer, a cybersecurity company specialized in the financial services sector; Qualcomm sold its fleet management software unit for $800 million to private equity firm Vista Equity Partners; and the other big dollar buy was AOL paying $405 million for online video company Adap.tv. Facebook bought speech recognition company Mobile Technology; Google bought patents to support its Glass product from Foxconn; Software AG bought analytics firm Jackbe; Opentext paid $33 million for cloud based software company Cordys; and SAP bought ecommerce company Hybris.
In other news, reports show that PC sales are taking a hammering, primarily from tablets and for the first time smartphones are outselling “feature phones”. Speaking of smartphones, Android continues to take a bigger piece of that market and Apple’s share is sliding. There were a number of reasonable economic indicators including Canadian GDP growth, and various economic indicators showing positive signs although the Canadian unemployment rate edged up a notch.
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 September 2013 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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