Tech M&A spending doubles in October

Contact: Brenon Daly

Boosted by the largest technology deal in more than a half-decade, spending on tech M&A around the globe more than doubled in October from the previous year.

The whopper deal, of course, was Softbank’s $20bn purchase of a majority stake in Sprint Nextel, which accounted for nearly two-thirds of last month’s spending. Without that one transaction – the largest tech deal since Alltel went private in a $27.5bn buyout in mid-2007 – the total spending would have come in basically where it has in October in each of the past three years.

Overall, acquirers spent $32.6bn on 285 transactions in October, compared with $14.5bn spent on 342 deals in October 2011. The 125% spike in aggregate deal value in October marks only the third month in 2012 where spending has increased, year over year.

In addition to the blockbuster telco transaction, noteworthy deals last month included ASML Holding’s $2.5bn purchase of Cymer, a transaction that featured a 70% premium; the $1.6bn take-private of; and Riverbed Technology’s $1bn acquisition of OPNET Technologies, a gamble on portfolio expansion that Wall Street didn’t particularly like.

Even with those big-ticket deals in October, however, M&A spending in the first 10 months of 2012 is running one-quarter lower than where it was in 2011.

For more real-time information on tech M&A, follow us on Twitter @MAKnowledgebase.