This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for July 2020. 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 July in previous years …
Five years ago, July 2015 saw no billion-dollar deals, but there was some activity with some big names out shopping. Microsoft made two acquisitions, paying $320 million for cloud security company Adallom and customer servicing software company FieldOne Systems. IBM picked up database-as-a-service company Compose; Cisco paid $139 million for sales automation company MaintenanceNet; HP bought a cloud development platform Stackato; Blackberry bought AtHoc, a crisis communication tool; and DropBox bought messaging company Clementine. Other acquisitions saw Cisco as a seller, with Technicolor paying $600 million for Cisco’s set top box division; Level 3 bought security firm Black Lotus; Amadeus bought travel software company Navitaire (a subsidiary of Accenture) for $830 million; eBay sold its enterprise unit for $925 million, having paid $2.4 billion for it four years ago. In the continued blurring of the lines between technology companies and other industries, Capital One bank acquired design, development and marketing firm Monsoon.
In July 2016, Verizon made two multi-billion-dollar acquisitions. The big name was Yahoo! who they bought for $4.83 billion, but they also paid $2.4 billion for Fleetmatics who provide fleet and mobile workforce management services. Oracle were also out spending big dollars, paying $9.3 billion for cloud-based ERP company, Netsuite. Now if those deals were not big enough, Softbank (like Verizon, they have a large telco presence — formerly Vodafone) paid a whopping $32.2 billion for chip designer ARM Holdings. Also joining the July billion dollar club was security vendor Avast, who bought AVG for $1.3 billion. Other deals that month saw Salesforce pay $582 million for cloud-based startup Quip; Google bought video company Anvato; Terradata bought training company Big Data Partnership; and Opentext bought analytics company Recommind.
Three years ago, July 2017 saw Cincinnati Bell buy Hawaiian Telcom Holdco for $650 million and OnX for $201 million. Mitel paid $430 million for ShoreTel and bought Toshiba’s unified communications business. In Toronto, digital signage solution provider, Dot2Dot, acquired Pixel Point Digital. PNI Canada Acuireco Corp. purchased Sandvine Corp. for $562 million with plans to merge Sandvine and Procera Networks.
July 2018 was a busy M&A month with the biggest deal of the month, a somewhat unlikely $19 billion acquisition of CA Technologies by Broadcom, who were clearly planning to expand beyond the semiconductor world. Solution provider, Atos was paying $3.45 billion for Syntel, creating a large North American presence. Fortive was paying $2 billion for physical resource management software company Accruent, and the last billion dollar deal of the month saw SS&C pay $1.45 billion for investment technology company Eze Software. Other deals saw AT&T buy cybersecurity company Alienvault; Hitachi bought AWS integrator Rean; Intel bought specialty chip maker eAsic Corp; Accenture continued its acquisition spree with the purchase of AI company Kogentix; and Getronics re-entered the North American market with the purchase of Pomeroy.
July 2019 was a little quiet, but there were some big deals announced. Cisco’s $2.6 billion acquisition of Acacia Communications was the biggest deal. Apple splashed $1 billion to buy Intel’s smartphone modem business, and KKR bought Corel for $1 billion too. There were a few more deals hit my radar with Google buying storage company Elastifile; 8X8 cloud communications company paying $100 million for Platform as a service company Wavecell; and last but not least, Epam Systems bought educational content company Competentum.
Which brings us back to the present …
It is difficult to predict business activity during the current pandemic, but many companies continue with their growth initiatives and July 2020 saw quite a few deals done. There were big names out buying, some deals were not so significant in size but there was at least one in the billion dollar range, with HPE paying $925 million for SD WAN technology company Silver Peak. DXC sold its healthcare business for $525 million to Dedalus Group, an Italian company and there was plenty more action but with no price disclosed. Google bought Canadian smart glasses company North; Cisco bought video analytics company Modcam; VMware bought cloud disaster recovery company Datrium; Fortinet bought cloud security startup Opaq Networks; and Mimecast bought email security startup MessageControl. Uber continues its growth with the purchase of RouteMatch a company focused on public transport systems and a couple of smaller deals saw cyber protection company Acronis buy DeviceLock which provides security at the device level; and Advent International, a private equity firm bought cyber security firm Forescout. Clearly cyber security is a hot area!
Huawei continues to be in the news, this time the in UK, where the government has reversed its previous decision and has now locked out the company from the UK commercial telecommunications network. Twitter had an embarrassing leak with some admin accounts compromised and some very high-profile accounts hacked. Finally, LinkedIn has announced layoffs associated with the pandemic, cutting 960 jobs or about 6% of their workforce.
On the economic, and jobs, front we are still in a period of huge uncertainty, and your crystal ball is probably just as good as mine. There were some positive signs though, with both Canada (952,000) and the US (2.4 million) showing big job gains in the last month. The OECD also showed a slight improvement in the unemployment rate, from 8.5% to 8.4% but there are still 54 million people unemployed in the OECD countries!
That’s what caught my eye over the last month, the full edition will be available soon on the News section of the Eagle website. Hope this was useful and I’ll be back with the August 2020 industry news in just about a month’s time.
Walk Fast and Smile.
Kevin Dee is the founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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