This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for November 2014. 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.
Five years ago in November 2009 there was still a “hangover” from the recession, but the general mood was more optimistic. There were still layoff announcements, Adobe (680), Microsoft (800), and Rogers (900) all announced layoffs and Right Management told us that as many as 80% of employees may look to change job as the economy recovers! The big news in M&A saw HP buying 3-Com for $2.7 Billion and Nortel continued to sell off its assets, this time its Metro Ethernet Networks business to Cienna for $769 Million. Google also made a couple of acquisitions, including paying $750 million for AdMob. Four years ago in November Twenty-Ten perennial acquirer EMC paid $2.25 billion for Isilion; Attachmate bought Novell for $2.2 Billion; Oracle paid $1 Billion for Art Technology Group; NTT paid $1 Billion for Keane; Amazon paid $500 million for Quidsi; and Juniper Networks bought Trapeze Networks for $152 million. In November 2011 Mosaid was sold to Sterling partners for $590 million, ending a WiLan hostile takeover attempt. Japanese company Rakuten paid $315 million for e-book company Kobo; Huawei technologies bought Symantec out of a storage and security joint venture to the tune of $530 million; Yahoo paid $270 million for online advertising company Interclick; and Best Buy paid $167 million for internet technology company Mindshift. In November 2012 Cisco made two significant “buys”, cloud infrastructure company Meraki ($1.2B) and cloud datacentre and software company Cloupia ($125M); Dell bought software tools company Gale Technologies; NCR bought retail software company Retalix ($650M); Cray bought software company Appro ($25M); Sprint Nextel bought a chunk of US Cellular ($480M); and Toronto based NexJ (headed by another ex-Andersen Consulting alumni) bought Broadstreet for $8.2 million. Last year in November 2013 Opentext paid $1.1 Billion for cloud based integration services company GXS Group and another Canadian deal saw Mitel buy Aastra for close to $400 million. Other deals this month included ebay’s $800 million purchase of global payments company Braintree; Apple’s $370 million purchase of 3D sensor company PrimeSense; and Akamai’s purchase of Velocius Networks.
Which brings us back to the present …
November 2014 was an exceptionally quiet month on the M&A front, in fact I don’t remember a month this quiet in the fifteen years or so that I have been doing this! The biggest deal saw two semiconductor companies merge, Cypress Semiconductor and Spansion to form a $4 billion company; private equity company Carlyle Group paid $700 million for investment bank technology company Dealogic and Yahoo shelled out $640 million for video advertising company BrightRoll. In related news VC investment in Canada seems to be on a high according to CB Insights. And there are rumors that BT is trying to buy O2 mobile network, which could upset the telecomm applecart in the UK.
Canada added 43,000 jobs in October and the unemployment rate dropped to 6.5%, plus one study suggests that IT spending will increase by 3.3% to greater than $1 billion. Meanwhile the US economy seems to be on fire, adding more that 200,000 jobs in October and almost every indicator being positive. That includes GDP numbers, future hiring prospects, special interest group indeces and various confidence indicators.
On another positive note, Ontario might benefit from investment by Chinese company Huawei Technologies to the tune of 325 jobs. Finally a study in the UK suggests that many (mostly low paying) jobs will be replaced by automation over the next 20 years … the robots are coming!
Other than multiple negative reports about my favorite ride company Uber that might mean I need to drop them (a little Google search should do the trick), that’s my view of the tech industry from November 2014. Until next month, stay positive, walk fast and smile!
Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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