Top 10 Biggest Tech Company Takeovers of All Time

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biggest tech company takeovers

In an ever-evolving industry like technology, the right takeover deal can define the future of a business, allowing it to upgrade its portfolio and expand its operations faster than ever before. 

While some acquisitions are unremarkable, others can transfigure the technology landscape, revolutionsing the way tech companies operate, compete, and communicate.

Despite the pandemic bringing many acquisition deals to a standstill, in the past few years we have have seen some of the biggest takeovers in history, with values going well into the billions. 

In this list, we’ll be taking a look at the 10 biggest company takeovers in tech history. 


HP takes over Compaq - for $18.6 billion

In one of the largest deals in technology at the time, in September 2001 HP sealed a $16.6 billion acquisition deal of the PC manufacturer Compaq. 

Compaq had been a big name in the computer market in the 1980s, but was beginning to struggling due to a series of poor acquisition choices, such as its infamous acquisition of DEC in 1998, which proved to be disastrous for the company. 

The announcement of HP’s takeover troubled  large shareholders in the company, who believed Compaq would involve HP in the low-margin PC business which main competitor, IBM, was exiting.

The acquisition went ahead regardless, resulting in HP losing half of its market value and its CEO stepping down just 3 years after the deal was completed. In a survey conducted by ZDNET, the deal was voted “worst acquisition deal ever.”

Meta (Prev. Facebook) takes over WhatsApp - $22 billion

In 2014, Meta (previously Facebook) made the decision to acquire Whatsapp – biggest competitor to its own messaging service.

At the time the deal was intriguing, not only because Whatsapp was a well-known rival of its own brand, but also because it already offered a service of a similar quality. 

As time passed, however, the intention of the deal became increasingly clear – with Messenger remaining as a basic messaging service alongside Facebook, and Wharsapp becoming a much wider social network platform.


Salesforce takes over Slack - $27.7 billion

At the height of the COVID pandemic, cloud computing giant Salesforce acquired messaging app Slack in a $28 billion acquisition deal. 

The deal’s objective was to provide slack with the resources to revolutionise enterprise software by building a platform dedicated to a digital-first, work anywhere enterprise ecosystem. 

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said in a statement that “Together we’ll define the future of enterprise software, creating the digital HQ that enables every organization to deliver customer and employee success from anywhere.”

Slack had attracted attention from Tech giants like Microsoft, a company who Slack Co-founder called  “unhealithy preoccupuied” with the company in a conversation with The Verge.

SoftBank takes over Arm - $32 billion

In the summer of 2016, Japan’s SoftBank agreed to buy the UK’s Arm Holdings for $31 billion in the hope that the Cambridge-based smartphone chip designer could help it become a leader in one of the next big technology markets – the “Internet of Things.”

Arm Holdings has a major presence in mobile processing, with its processor and graphics technology being used by Apple, Samsung and many other smartphone manufacturers. 

The deal came shortly after the UK announced its decision to leave the EU, leading some critics to suggest that the deal was made cheaply due to a post-brexit fall in the value of the pound sterling. SoftBank CEO denied these claims, saying that the investment “marks our strong commitment to the UK and the competitive advantage provided by the deep pool of science and technology talent in Cambridge”, in a statement made at the time. 


IBM takes over Redhat - $34 billion

In October 2018, IBM announced that it would acquire enterprise software leader Redhat for $190.00 per share in cash, equating to a total equity value of $34 billion. 

IBM had long desired to transform itself in a hybrid cloud-first company, with its Z and Cloud modernisation centre being a prime example of this strategy.

The tech giants acquisition of Redhat made it the world’s #1 hybrid cloud provider, providing the resources for a next-generation hybrid multi-cloud platform. IBM Chairman and Chairman and CEO explained in a statement that the deal marked “the next chapter of the cloud.” 

“It requires shifting business applications to hybrid cloud, extracting more data and optimizing every part of the business, from supply chains to sales."


AMD takes over Xilinx - $35 billion

Towards the end of October 2020, AMD acquired rival chipmaker and Silicon Valley powerhouse Xilinx in an all-stock transaction valued at $35 billion. 

AMD’s core business is driven by CPU and GPU technologies for client devices, supercomputing, embedded applications and game consoles. Xilinix, however, largely produces FPGA-based techlogoies, adaptive SoCs, AI inference engines and software for AI, inference, SmartNICs, 5G cellular base stations, in addition to many others.     

In a statement, AMD Chair and CEO Dr. Lisa Su said that the deal would “enable AMD to offer the strongest portfolio of high-performance and adaptive computing solutions in the industry.” She noted that the deal “brings together complementary set of products, customers and markets”. 


Avago Technologies takes over Broadcom - $37 billion

In 2015 Avago, which serves the wireless and industrial markets, acquired its competitor Broadcom (BRCM) for $37 billion with $17 billion in cash and nearly $20 billion in shares. 

Best known for its connectivity chips, Broadcom is one of the largest semiconductor and infrastructure software producers, making networking ICs for data, voice and video applications in the wireless and broadband communications sector. 

Avago’s acquisition of the company led to the creation of a combined company known as Broadcom Inc. (AVGO), which became the third-largest semiconductor maker by revenue in the US at the time behind Intel Corp and Qualcom Inc. 

In 2021-2022, the company had a total of $30billion, the fourth biggest in the semiconductor market.

Elon Musk takes over Twitter - $44 billion

The only takeover of a company by an individual on this list, Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter saw the richest man in the world gain total control of the platform in an all-cash $44 billion deal made earlier this year.

The Tesla and Space X founder wants to make major changes to the social media platform including reducing its workforce, monetizing popular tweets, and opening up Twitter verification to all users with a new, paid verification system.

Though the outcome these changes remains largely unclear, Mr Musk believes these changes will generate more income for Twitter, improve user-experience, and transform the platform for the better. 


Dell Technologies takes over EMC - $67 billion

In October 2015 PC maker Dell Technologies announced the acquisition of data storage company EMC in a record-breaking $67 billion deal.

The takeover made Dell the world’s largest privately-controlled tech company at the time. The takeover allowed Dell, third-largest PC maker in the world, to gain control in the lucrative business data management services market.

EMC also controlled VMWare, the software and services cloud control and virtualisation company, but later sold VMware in 2021 due to a “debt hangover” caused by its massive takeover of EMC.

Microsoft takes over Activision Blizzard - $68.7 billion

Tech giant Microsoft announced the acquisition of leading video-game developer Activision Blizzard in a $68.7 billion deal in January of this year. 

The deal saw Microsoft’s takeover of 8 studios with 9,500 employees around the world, with the company focusing on extending its presence in the mobile gaming space and the Metaverse. 

Activision Blizzard is renowned for games like “Candy Crush,” “Diablo,” “Overwatch” and “Call of Duty,” which boast millions of active users daily. 

When the transaction closed, Microsoft became the world’s third largest gaming company by revenue behind Chinese company Tencent and the PlayStation creator Sony – Microsoft’s biggest gaming competitor.