This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for May 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 May in previous years …
Five years ago in May 2008 HP paid almost $14 Billion for EDS, and CBS paid $1.75 Billion for the CNet suite of web based sites and the recession was the biggest news. In May 2009 there were early signs of a recovery but still lots of bad news. Some big layoffs announced this month Sony (8,000), BT (15,000), Seagate (1,100) and HP (6,000). On the M&A front the telcos continue to feel pain with Verizon selling off 14 states worth of wireline assets to Frontier Communications for $8.6 Billion. Facebook received an injection of $200 million from Digital Sky Technologies (valuing the company at $10 Billion); and NetApp paid $1.5 Billion for Data Domain. Three years ago in May Twenty-Ten economies were recovering, but there are still plenty of concerns including the financial impact of the volcanic ash hitting air schedules and the meltdown of the Greek economy. The big deal was SAP’s $5.8 Billion purchase of Sybase. Google picked up two companies GIPS and BumpTop and invested in a third Recorded Future (a company that claims to forecast the future). Cisco added Moto Development and CoreOptics. The other big dollar deal was Symantec’s $1.28 Billion deal to buy the security assets of Verisign. In May 2011 probably the biggest news was Microsoft’s record breaking offer of $8.5 Billion for Skype. Other M&A activity included Nvidia paying $367M for Icera; Rambus buying Cryptography Research for $342M in the security space; Sandisk acquiring Pliant Technology in the storage world for $327M; and Twitter paying $40M for TweetDeck. May 2012 saw the long anticipated, but somewhat disappointing start of Facebook’s appearance as a public company! There was also a fair amount of M&A activity, the largest deal being SAP’s $4.3 Billion acquisition of Ariba with CGI’s $2.8 Billion acquisition of Logica PLC of particular interest to those of us here in Canada! EMC continues its pattern of acquisitions with the $430 million purchase of XtremIO: perennial acquirer Oracle paid $300 million for social media marketing firm Vitrue; in the storage space Seagate paid $186 million for a controlling interest in LaCie; Microsoft invested $300 million in a Barnes & Noble subsidiary; and LinkedIn paid $118 million for Slideshare. There was plenty more activity, but with the amounts not published. Twitter bought RestEngine; IBM bought customer analytics company Tealeaf Technology; VMware bought Wanova; and Cisco bought Truvisco.
Which brings us back to the present …
The big news in May 2013 was Yahoo’s $1.1 billion purchase of Tumblr (the current joke suggesting Tumblr will be able to afford an “e” now!). It is interesting that a $6.9 billion deal to take BMC Software private did not cause the same kind of splash … the power of the brand? Manitoba Tel decided to shed its Allstream division to a holding company for $520 million; Telus is attempting to buy Mobilicity for $380 million … but regulators have yet to approve the deal; McAfee is paying $389 million for Finnish security firm. Stonesoft; Dell is adding to its cloud capabilities with the purchase of Estratius … even while heading down a path to become private; AVG is buying PrivacyChoice; and Ottawa based N-Able Technologies is yet another Canadian company to be bought by a larger US company, this time Solarwinds for $120 million.
There were lots of small indicators that the US economy is continuing to head in the right direction, with GDP, unemployment and confidence indicators all positive. Canada added jobs, had less job vacancies and also had positive confidence indicators. The EU on the other hand, at least countries using the Euro had record unemployment at 12.2% … the disparity growing between Greece & Spain with more than 25% unemployment and Germany at a healthy 5.4%.
Apple was in the news (a) for positive reasons bringing some manufacturing jobs back to North America by opening a plant in Texas; and (b) for negative reasons, settling a class action lawsuit to the tune of $53 million over warranties of iPods and iPhones. Finally HP is in the press battling a shareholder suit over its acquisition of “overvalued” Autonomy, and the subsequent associated $8 billion write down
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 June 2013 industry news in just about a month’s time.
Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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