Trimble bucks tech M&A trends

Contact: Scott Denne

Bucking the overall tech M&A landscape, Trimble Navigation continues its steady M&A program with the acquisition of 3-D structural engineering software provider CSC. With this transaction and the seven others it’s done this year, Trimble goes against the grain of two notable M&A trends: declining deal volume and increased spending.

Trimble, which provides a variety of industry-specific software and systems, has announced eight deals so far this year, on par with the number of acquisitions it announced in each of the previous two years. Each individual transaction has been too small to necessitate disclosing the price paid, and CSC is no exception. The target posted just $15.5m in revenue for the year ending March 2012 (according to public filings of one of its British investors), up from $12.7m in 2007, the year ISIS Equity Partners led a $39m management buyout of the business.

Through the first three quarters of the year, Trimble spent $200m buying companies, down from $355m in the same period last year. In 2012 it spent $728m on nine companies (including a single $335m purchase), and in 2011 it spent $760m (including $489m on one deal), with the same number of disclosed acquisitions. The declining spending bucks the trend that we’re seeing throughout tech M&A, as the value of announced deals is up 33% so far this year from the year-ago period.

Tech M&A volume and value, year-over-year comparisons

Year Volume Volume percent change Value Value percent change
2013 (YTD) 2,811 -14% $214.55bn 33%
2012 (YTD) 3,265 -4% $161.6bn -20%
2011 (YTD) 3,397 $200.82bn

Source: The 451 M&A KnowledgeBase

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Posted in M&A