A post-recession spending record — and then some

Contact: Brenon Daly

The first-quarter M&A totals for the tech industry suddenly look a lot different. AT&T’s announced acquisition of T-Mobile USA from parent Deutsche Telekom dramatically inflates the spending, more than doubling the collective value of the 750 transactions announced so far in 2011. The $39bn deal (the largest purchase in the telecom industry in a half-decade) compares to $29bn worth of transactions in the first 11 weeks of the year.

Further, it wasn’t just Ma Bell’s massive consolidation play in the wireless space that pushed up the total on Monday. Liberty Global announced plans to spend a total of $4.5bn on German cable operator Kabel Baden-Württemberg. Additionally, Charles Schwab said it will shell out $1bn in stock for optionsXpress Holdings, its largest deal in a decade. And Broadcom continued its recent steady run of dealmaking, handing over $313m for Provigent. Altogether, that pushed M&A spending so far this quarter to $74bn – the highest quarterly total since Q2 2008. And the post-recession record is only headed higher: the first quarter doesn’t wrap up until a week from Thursday.