A little history of March in previous years …
Five years ago, c March 2009 Google was in the news of the creation of a $ 100 million venture fund. Bell Canada bought The Source, and the breakup of BearingPoint, after Chapter 11, benefited Deloitte and PwC, among others.
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March 2010 saw a continuation of the economic recovery. It was a quiet month for mergers and acquisitions, with CA buying both 3Tera for about $ 90 million and Nimsoft for $ 350 million. Chordiant was bought by Pegasytems for just over $ 160 million, and the other notable deal was the purchase of Bell Microproducts by Avnet for $ 340 million.
Three years ago, c March 2011 world events include the earthquake in Japan, the tsunami and the ensuing nuclear problems. The big technology event of the month was AT&T’s announcement of a $ 39 billion deal to buy T-Mobile … which later failed, costing AT&T $ 4 billion. Although there were no other mega-deals of this nature, it was a busy month in the world of mergers and acquisitions. Montreal’s Radian6 was purchased by Salesforce.com for about $ 276 million; Facebook has made several acquisitions in the mobile space Snaptu and Beluga; YouTube paid about $ 50 million for Next New Networks; McAfee bought database protection firm Sentrigo; Cisco bought portal company newScale; Teradata bought start-up data analysis Aster data … continuation of consolidation in the hot data space; and OpenText bought WeComm, a provider of mobile application development tools.
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IN March 2012 had some activity with several (then) young companies receiving significant capital Appirio ($ 60 million) and Hootsuite ($ 20 million). Cisco made several acquisitions, paying $ 5 billion to video and content company NDS Group in addition to a smaller purchase of ClearAccess network management.
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NEC paid $ 450 million for Convergys’ information management business, and Avaya paid $ 230 million for Israeli video conferencing and telepresence company Radvision. Other companies on the acquisition trail were DELL, EMC, SafeNet, Avnet and The Utility Company. Finally, SAIC agreed to pay nearly half a billion dollars to the city of New York in connection with fees that it overpaid and paid kickbacks!
Last year, c March 2013 some of the “usual heroes” made acquisitions, but billions of dollars in deals were not announced. Oracle continued its movement in the telecommunications space with the acquisition of Tekelec; Google bought a small company based at the University of Toronto, DNNresearch in vertical machine learning; Microsoft sells Atlas Advertiser Suite on Facebook; and Yahoo bought Summly. Microsoft has faced some difficulties in the EU, having to pay a $ 732 million fine for an antitrust policy related to Internet Explorer and Evernote, which suffered a security breach affecting 50 million users.
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Which brings us back to the present …
March 2014 it wasn’t a banner month for acquisitions, but there was one big deal with Facebook that made, somewhat surprisingly, a $ 2 billion acquisition of virtual reality company Oculus VR. Intel has also broadened its horizons with the acquisition of $ 150 million smartwatch maker Basis Science.
Some other interesting moves showed a significant investment in the big data company Cloudera with the participation of both Google (as part of an investment consortium) and Intel. SAP added to its purchasing software package with the acquisition of Fieldglass, and Telus made several purchases, Enode, a Quebec management consulting company, and Med Access, an addition in British Columbia to their healthcare division. There were several other smaller deals plus Embarcadero bought the ERwinDate modeling software from CA.
In addition to mergers and acquisitions, there are a number of companies that make news, and not all for good things! Sales of IBM’s Lenovo servers have created some significant labor problems in China, Google has been ordered to pay $ 85 million to SimpleAir for patent infringement, and NetApp has announced it is cutting nearly 5 percent of its 600-job workforce.
Several bitcoin exchanges have run into serious problems with Mt.Gox “losing” $ 500 million in bitcoins and Vicurex freezing all its accounts after a serious hack. Notable “human events” in March saw Target CEO Beth Jacob resign in response to a recent major data breach, and Symantec fired their CEO Steve Bennett.
The economic news was at best “light” in Canada, with the unemployment rate unchanged and the overall indicators “blah” (this is one of my best economic terms). However, indicators in the US were generally positive with GDP growth, several confidence indices showing promise and prospects for increased employment.
This is my view of what is happening in the technology space in the last month compared to the same month in previous years. I’ll be back in late April, until then … go fast and smile!