Tech M&A slumps toward the year-end

Contact: Brenon Daly

Tech M&A appears to be heading toward a quiet end to the year, with November marking the third straight month of declining spending on deals. The slump puts the value of deals announced in the just-completed month at about half the level we were recording in the months earlier this summer. Overall, we tallied 252 deals worth $11.2bn. (And as a side note to the total, we would highlight the fact that the spending in November was highly concentrated. A trio of deals – EMC’s purchase of Isilon, the Novell buyout and Oracle’s reach for Art Technology Group – accounted for nearly half the value of all transactions announced last month.)

It’s not just that November slipped when compared to other months this year. The paltry $11.2bn in aggregate M&A value is just one-third the level recorded in November 2009, and is even lower than the total in November 2008, when the economy was in the grips of the worst economic recession in 70 years. In fact, spending for the just-completed November is coming in at about half the average level for the month over the past four years.

As to what this means for tech M&A in 2011, we’re turning to the people who will be striking the deals next year. In the next day or two, we’ll be sending out our annual survey for corporate development executives and tech investment bankers. The surveys cover forecasts for M&A activity, as well as valuations. Anyone interested in filling out the survey (a quick, painless and confidential process), just email me and I’ll send along the appropriate survey. For those who receive the survey in their inboxes soon, we would appreciate 5-10 minutes of your time to get your views on where the M&A market is heading next year.