451 Research Report

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Tech M&A spending in 2019 dropped nearly 20% from the previous year’s record level as mainstay acquirers stayed away and an up-and-coming group came up short. The combination of the tech industry’s bellwether companies not buying and buyout shops slowing their record roll clipped the value of tech and telecom acquisitions announced around the world last year to $461bn, according to 451 Research’s M&A KnowledgeBase.

Still, 2019 stands as the fourth-highest annual total since the internet bubble collapsed. The fact that last year hit such heights is rather remarkable, given that it was missing the main engine that has powered tech M&A since the first prints in the industry – traditional big-cap acquirers. The tech industry’s household names are no longer buying like they did.

As an indication of that, consider that the M&A KnowledgeBase shows that Oracle, Microsoft, IBM and SAP, collectively, did not put up a single billion-dollar print in 2019. It was the first time since 2003 that the always-hungry quartet haven’t been in the ‘three comma club.’ Up until last year’s notable absence, the big buyers had been averaging three or four acquisitions between them valued at more than $1bn each year.
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