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Mergers and acquisitions are a common component of growth in the technology landscape. Businesses from all backgrounds, of all sizes, turn to strategic purchases and partnerships for innovation and opportunity.
Throughout 2020, the confusing landscape prompted a small reduction in the M&A activity of the tech landscape. However, there were still some meaningful decisions to explore. As companies continued to explore a new landscape with new demands, M&A became a way to adapt to the changing definition of “normal”.
Here are some of the biggest mergers and acquisitions to note from 2020.
Amazon Buys Zoox
Taking a different approach in the AI landscape, leading tech brand Amazon announced its acquisition of the self-driving car company, Zoox, in June. The deal valued at $1.2 billion builds on the keen interest that Amazon has shown in the autonomous machinery space. Zoox, which was originally founded in California, was planning on launching pilot programs in 2020, though those were temporarily placed on hold.
Zoox already had strong footing in the autonomous vehicle landscape, gaining around $1 billion in funding over the last couple of years before being acquired by Amazon. CEO Aicha Evans for Zoox will continue to lead the company as a standalone part of Amazon.
Microsoft Acquires CyberX
Microsoft announced a $5 billion investment in IoT in 2020, which included the purchase of the CyberX company for IoT security and information management. The CyberX startup already has a strong reputation for delivering OT and IoT security platform support. Since it’s initial arrival in 2013, the brand grew rapidly, raising around $48 million in funding.
Microsoft’s acquisition didn’t come with a full reveal of how much the company spent on CyberX. However, the tech giants noted that the purchase of CyberX was both part of its IoT strategy, and it’s campaign to increase its footprint in Israel, where it has acquired around seven more businesses over the last decade. With CyberX, Microsoft can take a more unified approach to cybersecurity governance in industrial and IT systems.
Zoom Acquires Keybase
Zoom, leading unified communications company, recently announced the acquisition of Keybase in May, for a still undisclosed amount. The Keybase company specialises in complete solutions for encryption through cryptography, which ensure that communications remain secure at every point in the digital discussion.
The popular video-conferencing application, Zoom, purchased Keybase as part of a 90-day plan to address common customer concerns about security, and create a more reliable service for ongoing business communication. The company hopes the acquisition will help it reach its goals for security and privacy much faster.
Google Buys Actifio
Google announced an agreement to purchase Actifio, a data management company responsible for helping organisations with data continuity. The acquisition, revealed in December of 2020, allows Google to tap into new features to support companies with disaster recovery and business continuity. This purchase also helps Google to compete against other leaders like Rubrik.
Although the full terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, the Actifio company had received valuations of over 1 billion back in 2014. Google plans on using the purchase as a way to build its disaster recovery and backup solutions.
NVIDIA Acquires Arm
NVIDIA and the SoftBank Group Corp announced a definitive agreement in 2020 to acquire ARM Limited. The transaction valued at $40 billion is expected to have a huge impact on NVIDIA’s current portfolio. This purchase will bring NVIDIA’s leading AI platform for computing with the vast and growing ecosystem of ARM.
The combined companies believe that the purchase will create the premier computing option for the age of AI. NVIDIA notes that this acquisition will help to accelerate innovation in its ecosystem, while helping the business to expand into more large and high-growth markets. SoftBank will remain invested in Arm’s success through it’s ownership stake with NVIDIA.
Salesforce Buys Slack
Salesforce, world leaders in the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) landscape, officially agreed to purchase Slack, one of the market’s largest unified communication and collaboration tools. The new acquisition brings two major SaaS providers to create better workplace alignment for the modern workforce. The deal, valued at $27.7 billion, also marks the largest acquisition in Salesforce’s roster, following the $15.3 billion deal for Tableau in 2019.
CEO Mark Benioff describes the purchase and subsequent merger as a match made in heaven, allowing two companies to work together on shaping the future of enterprise productivity. Once the transaction closes, it will be interesting to see the kind of new solution that emerges.
Twilio Buys Segment
Leading provider of CPaaS communication solutions, Twilio, purchased Segment in October 2020. Segment is a leading customer data platform committed to reducing silos in the business landscape. Both companies, based in San Francisco, are keen users of API technology, which makes it easier for them to consolidate customer data and communication channels.
CEO of Twilio, Jeff Lawson, commented on the acquisition by saying that Segment helps companies to get a more complete picture of their customer. Combined with the Twilio customer engagement platform, Twilio believes Segment can help them to drive more timely and personalized engagement in production, sales, analytics, marketing, and customer service.
Progress Software Acquires Chef
September 2020 saw Progress Software’s announcement that it would be purchasing the infrastructure-as-a-code company Chef for over $220 million. The acquisition, according to Progress Software, aligned perfectly with their strategy for continued growth and development. The company believes that the Chef brand will assist with its ongoing strategy to deliver a more advanced future to the DevSecOps environment.
Although Chef has had some issues maintaining its momentum in the marketplace in recent years, the organisation has been gaining speed once again. With the new purchase, Progress Software could have what it takes to develop a more competitive tool for the software and DevSecOps environment.
Insight Partners Acquires Veeam
Though a little smaller than some acquisitions from 2020, the decision of Insight Partners to purchase Veeam for $5 billion is still a meaningful one. The purchase followed Insight Partners previously investing $500 million into the cloud data management company in 2019. Veeam is a business responsible for assisting customers with disaster recovery and smart data management.
The deal will come with some major changes in the leadership circle for the combined company, with a new CEO in the form of William H. Largent, previously Veeam’s EVP of Operation. Veeam is currently responsible for supporting around 81% of the Fortune 500 with their business data management needs.
FireEye Buys Respond Software
In one of the most talked-about deals of the year, the intelligence-led security company, FireEye, purchased the investigation automation company Respond Software in 2020. The purchase was finalised at a price of $168 million in stock and cash and aims to deliver new market opportunities for FireEye. Following the purchase, FireEye will be embedding the machine learning tools and Respond Analyst technology of Respond into its ecosystem.
Respond’s cloud-based machine learning service can help to deliver better insights faster, to protect more customers. The companies working together may help to produce a higher level of protection for companies against growing cyber security attacks.
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