The wisdom of the crowds

Contact: Brenon Daly

As pretty much the only buyers at the table right now, corporate development executives’ views go a long way toward shaping the overall outlook for tech M&A. So it seems a fitting time to survey these shoppers in order to get their expectations for deal flow in 2010. The views of the corporate buyers are crucial to understanding deal flow because, collectively, strategic acquirers account for some 85% of the total M&A spending so far this year. (Note: If you are a corporate development officer and would like to take part in our survey, just email me and I’ll send you the link for the survey, which should only take about five minutes to complete.)

Over the past few years, the survey responses have correlated very closely with how deal flow has actually developed. For instance, when we asked corporate development executives last year what they expected to pay for startups in the coming year, nine out of 10 said private company valuations would come down in 2009. (That has certainly been the case this year.) And in our summer survey, we noted a significant increase in M&A appetite among the strategic buyers. That has certainly been the case, too. Spending on deals in the second half of 2009 is running 50% higher than the amount spent in the first two quarters of the year. Again, if any corporate development officers would like to take part in this survey, contact me and I’ll get you the form.