The Eagle Blog

IT Industry News – March 2012

This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for March 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.

A Little History of March in previous years … 

Five years ago, in March 2007 Cisco was “on a tear” announcing 3 acquisitions, including the $3.3 Billion purchase of WebEx, plus Microsoft paid about $800 Million for Tellme networks.  In March 2008 Microsoft announced three separate deals (one reputedly in the $100Million range); the biggest deal of the month was AOL’s $850 Million purchase of social networking company Bebo; Acer paid $290 Million for E-Ten and Synopsis paid $227 Million for another semiconductor company Synplicity.  Three years ago in March 2009 we continued to suffer through tough economic times and record unemployment.  Google was in the news for creating a $100 Million venture fund. There was not a ton of actual M&A activity in March 2009 but Bell Canada surprised, picking up “the Source” and the break-up of BearingPoint, post Chapter 11, benefited Deloitte and PwC amongst others around the world.  March 2010 saw a continuation of the economic recovery.  It was a quiet month for M&A activity with CA’s pursuit of the “cloud computing” world providing some activity with its two purchases, 3Tera for reputedly about $90 million and Nimsoft for $350 million.  Chordiant was bought by Pegasytems for a little over $160 million, and the other notable purchase was Avnet’s $340 million buy, Bell Microproducts.   Last year in March 2011 world events included Japan’s earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear woes.  The big technology event of the month was AT&T’s announcement of a $39 Billion deal to buy T-Mobile … which subsequebtly failed and reputedly cost AT&T $4 billion.  While there were no other mega-deals of this nature it was a fairly busy month in the M&A world.  There were some big name companies out adding to their capabilities … Montreal’s Radian6 was snapped up by for about $276 milion; Facebook made a couple of acquisitions in the mobile space Snaptu and Beluga; YouTube paid about $50 milion for Next New Networks;  McAfee bought database security firm Sentrigo; Cisco bought portal company newScale; Teradata bought data analytics startup Aster data … a continuation of the consolidation in the red hot data space;  and OpenText bought a mobile app development tool vendor WeComm.  Lots of activity in that mobile space!  

Which brings us back to the present … 

March 2012 in many ways is a microcosm of what we have seen since the recession, some positive signs but no out and out “boom”.  Among the positive signs were many indicators that the US economy is “looking up” with Monster, Manpower, Randstad, the Conference Board and TechServe Alliance all producing numbers that were encouraging.  The good-ish news continued in Canada with a drop in the unemployment rate to 7.4%, but it was accompanied by a slight loss in jobs too … so maybe just more people stopped looking?  The Erozone continues to be a concern as it reached record high unemployment with a rate of 10.7% meaning unemployment grew by about 1.5 million people. 

On the M&A front there was some activity with a couple of young companies receiving significant capital Appirio ($60 million) and Hootsuite ($20 million).  Cisco made a couple of acquisitions this month, paying a wopping $5 billion for video software and content company NDS Group in addition to a smaller network management buy, ClearAccess.  NEC is paying almost $450 million for the information management business of Convergys and Avaya is shelling out $230 million for an Israeli videoconferenceing and telepresence company Radvision.  Other companies on the acquisition trail this month include DELL, EMC, SafeNet, Avnet and The Utility Company.  

Final word goes to SAIC who agreed to pay close to a half billion dollars to the City of New York related to charges it overbilled and paid kickbacks! 

Overall March saw many things continue to head the right way here in North America, but the Eurozone continues to weigh heavily on the world’s economic mindset!

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 April 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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