This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for September 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 September in previous years …
Five years ago, in September 2015, there was a fair bit of M&A activity but no blockbuster deals. Microsoft was very active, closing three deals: Adxstudio which provides web-based solutions for Dynamics CRM; app developer Double Labs; and cloud security firm Adallom. Accenture picked up the cloud services company Cloud Sherpas; IBM added cloud software startup StrongLoop; Netsuite paid $200 million for cloud-based marketing company Bronto Software; and Blackberry paid $425 million for competitor Good Technology. Hardware company Konica Minolta bought IT Weapons; Qualcomm bought medical device and data management company Capsule Technologies; Networking and storage company Barracuda Networks bought online backup and disaster recovery company Intronis; and Compugen bought some of the assets of another Canadian company, Metafore.
September 2016 saw Tech Data pay $2.6 billion for the technology solutions group of Avnet, and HP made the biggest printer acquisition to date, paying $1.05 billion for Samsung’s printer business. Other deals saw Google pay $625 million for Apogee, and restaurant company Subway bought online order taking software company Avanti Commerce. One investment that caught my eye in the staffing world saw Accenture invest in crowdtesting company Applause.
Three years ago, September 2017 saw Google splash out $1.1 billion to acquire HTC’s pixel team, strengthening its own smartphone capabilities. In an interesting move IKEA bought gig economy company TaskRabbit. HPE bought Cloud Technology Partners, presumably to strengthen its capabilities in that area and possibly access new clients. Finally Edmonton company F12.net bought Vancouver’s ONDeck Systems as it pursued its goal to be a National IT Service Provider.
There were some big deals in September 2018. Adobe’s $4.5 million purchase of Marketo was the big deal of the month. Not a true tech play but Sirius XM paid $3.6 billion for Pandora, and with digital/media/tech convergence it seemed like a fit. Digital Realty expanded its data centre footprint with the $1.8 billion purchase of Brazil’s Ascenty. SS&C paid $1.5 billion for Intralinks. Vonage paid $300 million for contact centre as a service company NewVoiceMedia; Microsoft added to its AI portfolio, buying Lobe; Intel bought a startup, NetSpeed to help with its IoT chips; Cognizant added to its Salesforce capabilities, buying Advanced Technology Group; Infosys also added Salesforce capability in Europe, buying Fluido; and Slack addd an AI driven email client to its portfolio with the purchase of Astro.
Last year, September 2019 was relatively busy in M&A with Qualcomm’s $3.1 billion acquisition of TDK’s share in a RF joint venture, the largest deal of the month. There were some big names out shopping, with Microsoft buying cloud migration company Movere; Facebook bought Wearables company Ctrl-labs (reputedly for big dollars); HP bought endpoint security company Bromium; Western Digital bought Kazan Networks; and Github bought developer tool Semmie. Commvault paid $225 million for cloud software company Hevig and there were a few more smaller deals.
Which brings us back to the present …
In September 2020, the world continues to deal with the pandemic, with no sign of an end as yet. Despite these challenges (or perhaps because of them) there was still a fair amount of M&A activity this month with the biggest deal seeing Nvidia pay $40 billion for chip company Arm. Microsoft splashed out in the games world, paying $7.5 billion for Zenimax media, parent company of the maker of Doom and Fallout; and the other billion dollar deal saw Ericson pay $1.1 billion for 5G specialist Cradlepoint.
Pure Storage paid $270 million for Portworx and its Kebrnetes Data Service Platform; Progress Software paid $220 million for Devops company Chef; Crowdstrike paid $896 million for cybersecurity startup Preempt Security; and Compucenter grew its North American footprint, paying $80 million for Pivot Technology Solutions.
There were some other big names making deals, with VMware buying software automation expert SaltStack; Accenture continued its buying spree with the acquisition of B2B sales automation company N3; and Cognizant grew its Microsoft team with the acquisition of 10th Magnitude. There were a number of other deals involving lesser known names.
Other companies in the news included HP, who paid $6 million to settle charges by the SEC; and both Amazon and UPS announced some significant hiring plans.
Economies continue to struggle and unemployment numbers around the world are ugly, but there are signs of them improving with some positive signs from the US, Canada and the OECD, although we have a long way to go yet!
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 October 2020 tech news in just about a month’s time.
Until then, Walk Fast and Smile … wear a mask and wash your hands!
Kevin Dee is the founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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