Acquisitions among tech companies are certainly not a rarity, and in 2016 the deal-making has continued at a rapid pace. But unlike 2015, the 2016 deals have so far been less about consolidation and more about expanding into new markets and creating growth.
“Typically, you will see a large company buy a smaller one, and it either leaves it alone or integrates it under the acquiring company’s leadership,” says Brenon Daly, an analyst with 451 Research. “But now the acquired smaller company steps in a runs the whole show, because they have been able to demonstrate growth in a particular market.”
Scott Raynovich, VP of research and analysis with SDxCentral, noted that there is a difference between a large corporation, as opposed to a private equity firm, acquiring a company.
In the case of a corporation, there is typically pressure to grow in a new market. The larger a business becomes, the harder it is to grow organically or internally, which is why there is pressure to acquire — it’s the fastest way to grow, Raynovich says.
On the other hand, when you see private equity firms acquiring a company, it is typically to set the acquired company on a better track financially for the long term, rather than to realize immediate growth.
SDxCentral has been reporting on a lot of acquisitions this year. Keeping in mind that we are just now entering the fourth quarter, here’s a recap of some of the biggest deals that caught our attention in 2016. Keep in mind this list includes only the companies that we cover regularly.
1. SoftBank Acquires ARM for $32 Billion
Continuing the tech industry’s megamerger mania, Japanese telecom provider SoftBank announced in July that it would acquire ARM for a whopping $32 billion. The companies have set a Nov. 17 deadline for closing this multibillion-dollar deal.
When ARM Holdings first launched in the late 90s, its business focused on licensing chips without actually building them, and it remains the same today. The deal would allow SoftBank to hold a powerful place in the smartphone industry seeing that ARM-based chips are found everywhere in this space. SoftBank also sees ARM as a way to profit from the Internet of Things (IoT), most likely on the “things” side.
SoftBank’s offer equates to $22.62 per share, which was a 43 percent premium over ARM’s closing price in July.
2. Micro Focus Acquires Most (If Not All) of HPE’s Software Segment for $8.8 Billion
Micro Focus announced in early September that it would acquire most of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE)’s non-core software assets for $8.8 billion. The deal is a combined spinoff and merger, creating what HPE is calling one of the largest pure-play enterprise software vendors in the industry, with annual revenues of about $4.5 billion. HPE shareholders will own 50.1 percent of the merged company.
This deal didn’t come as a surprise to many, as HPE has been slimming down, focusing on the business segment it calls the Enterprise Group. This includes servers, storage, networking, and HPE’s networking functions virtualization (NFV) efforts.
3. Symantec Acquires Blue Coat for $4.65 Billion
Only 10 days after security company Blue Coat filed for its IPO, the company decided to take a $4.65 billion cash offer from Symantec. The deal closed Sept. 30. Blue Coat’s CEO Greg Clark became Symantec’s CEO, replacing Mike Brown. (The company had announced in April that it was seeking a successor to Brown.)
Symantec has become a pure security company after selling its data-backup business, Veritas, to The Carlyle Group for $8 billion.
Bain Capital, which acquired Blue Coat from Thoma Bravo last year for $2.4 billion, invested $750 million in the Blue Coat-Symantec combination. Additionally, private equity firm Silver Lake contributed $500 million. Blue Coat has not been profitable, recording losses of $289 million on revenues of $598 million for the year ended in April.
4. Apollo Acquires Rackspace for $4.3 Billion
Managed cloud company Rackspace is going private, having accepted an offer from Apollo Global Management for $4.3 billion net cash, or $32 per share, in August. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter.
Additionally, Searchlight Capital Partners will make an investment in the acquired company.
This deal was not a surprise. Weeks before the deal was announced, the cloud company’s stock jumped 29 percent as rumors of the Apollo purchase circulated.
Moreover, Rackspace had hired Morgan Stanley in 2014 to help it explore “strategic alternatives” for the company. At that time, Rackspace was up against competition from Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, which were able to offer the same service for less cost. Rackspace embodied the phrase “if you can’t beat them, join them” and partnered with AWS and Microsoft to make it easier for enterprise companies to set up private OpenStack clouds.
5. NTT Data Acquires Dell’s IT Services Unit for $3.05 Billion
Dell announced in March that it would sell off its IT service unit to Japan-based NTT Data for $3.05 billion. This allowed Dell to get some cash in its pockets before it acquired EMC for $67 billion.
NTT Data claims that buying Dell Services will help extend the capabilities of its IT services to areas such as health care, financial services, insurance, and the public sector. It also said the deal will increase its presence in North America. Both Dell Services and NTT Data clients will have access to the capabilities that the combined companies have to offer.
6. Verizon Acquires Fleetmatics for $2.4 Billion
In August, Verizon acquired fleet management software firm Fleetmatics for $2.4 billion in cash. The deal will allow Fleetmatics’ software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform to become part of a Verizon subsidiary, Verizon Telematics. This includes the addition of Fleetmatics’ 37,000 customers and 737,000 subscribers to Verizon’s IoT network. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter.
Following a recurring theme in the industry, Verizon is fortifying its IoT business through acquisitions. In June, the company purchased Telogis, a cloud-based mobile enterprise management software company, which closed in August.
7. Vista Equity Partners Acquires Infoblox for $1.6 Billion
Networking company Infoblox decided to go private on Sept. 19 when it was acquired by private equity firm Vista Equity Partners in a deal valued at $1.6 billion. The private equity firm paid a 33 percent premium compared to Infoblox’s average closing share price throughout the 60 trading days before the deal was announced.
The deal gives Infoblox some cushion to fall back on as it executes its long-term plan to drive device dependent interface (DDI) automation and domain name system (DNS) security into the enterprise market. Infoblox will continue to be run out of its corporate headquarters in Santa Clara, California, under the same executive team.
8. Cisco Acquires Jasper Technologies for $1.4 Billion
Back in February, Cisco announced a deal to acquire IoT startup Jasper Technologies for $1.4 billion in cash. Cisco also paid retention-based incentives to keep Jasper employees around.
At the time, Jasper had more than 3,500 enterprise and 27 service provider customers connecting devices through its IoT SaaS platform. The connected devices range from cars to jet engines to implanted pacemakers that are connected over mobile networks.
Several years before it was acquired, Jasper was given a $1 billion valuation, which would make Cisco’s purchase price appear quite low. However, Jasper is among the many hot startups that deflated with the stock market. Either way, a $1.4 billion valuation is nothing to be upset about, and neither is an additional couple thousand customers on Cisco’s end.
9. Cavium Acquires QLogic for $1.36 Billion
San Jose, California-based chipmaker Cavium took a step into the storage market when acquired QLogic for $1.36 billion, a deal that closed in August.
The deal included about $355 million of QLogic’s cash and is expected to result in $45 million of cost synergies by the end of 2017. Cavium claims that QLogic’s portfolio of connectivity and storage systems will complement its networking, compute, and security chips. It also touts that it can now provide end-to-end offerings to customers in the enterprise, cloud, data center, storage, and telco markets.
This deal is geared toward broadening Cavium’s customer base rather than acquiring QLogic’s technology. Some of QLogic’s customers include Amazon, AT&T, Comcast, Dell, Google, HPE, and Verizon.
10. Brocade Acquires Ruckus for $1.2 Billion
Brocade announced in April that it would buy Ruckus Wireless in a cash and stock deal valued at $1.2 billion. Hours after the announcement, Brocade’s stock dropped 14 percent, while Ruckus’ rose 31 percent.
Brocade claims that the acquisition of the WiFi company will help its enterprise networking portfolio and will strengthen its presence in the service provider space. The companies also hope to benefit from selling to each other’s customers.
Brocade’s wireless ambitions also include 5G. At Mobile World Congress in February, the company said it wants to become more involved in that technology through products such as its software-defined networking (SDN) controller and virtual evolved packet core (vEPC).