A modest recovery in the tech M&A market

Contact: Brenon Daly

Spending on tech M&A in July rose about 50% from July 2011, only the second month so far this year where the value of deals around the globe increased from the previous year. In fact, the $20.6bn we tallied last month stands as the busiest July in a half-decade, only slightly trailing the $21.7bn recorded in July 2007.

The boost last month came from the top end of the market, where we saw five transactions valued at more than $1bn. That compares to an average of about three 10-digit deals each month in the first half of 2012.

More broadly, last month saw a number of significant acquisitions, including Dell’s $2.6bn purchase of Quest Software (the company’s second-largest deal); VMware’s high-risk move into networking with the $1.2bn acquisition of pre-revenue startup Nicira Networks; Ingram Micro’s largest-ever transaction, bolstering its mobile offering through the $650m pickup of BrightPoint; and Apple’s first reach for a fellow publicly traded company, AuthenTec.

Of course, even with the acceleration in July, year-to-date spending on deals is still running roughly one-quarter lower than where it was last year. Assuming that level continues through the remainder of the year, 2012 would come in with the lowest total deal value since the recession year of 2009. That would snap the streak of two consecutive years of recovery in the tech M&A market.

2012 monthly activity

Month Deal volume Deal value % change in spending vs. same month, 2011
January 340 $4.1bn Down 65%
February 266 $10.4bn Up 16%
March 292 $16.8bn Down 30%
April 277 $14.1bn Down 47%
May 310 $15.6bn Down 47%
June 291 $13.3bn Down 20%
July 326 $20.5bn Up 49%

Source: The 451 M&A KnowledgeBase

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