Amid the coronavirus, 2020 was unpredictable in more ways than anyone would have expected. But one thing that stayed fairly constant was the steady flow of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) across the tech sector.
Global tech M&A deals last year totalled $634 billion, a 91.8 per cent year-over-year increase, according to GlobalData. Among a late flurry of big deals was the $35 billion acquisition of Xilinx by Advanced Micro Devices and Salesforce's $27.7 billion acquisition of Slack.
As for whether 2021 will maintain last year’s pace, if January is anything to go by, there will be no slowing of big deals across the industry, with silicon innovations and collaboration software already proving to be hot areas.
Here are the biggest enterprise technology acquisitions of 2021 so far, in reverse chronological order:
January 28: Workday to acquire Peakon for $700M
HR and finance software specialist Workday announced plans to buy employee feedback platform Peakon for $700 million in cash.
Founded in Denmark in 2014, Peakon had raised $68 million in funding to date. It offers organisations a software-as-a-service (SaaS) tool for regularly tracking employee sentiment and other tools to measure the happiness of the workforce, making it a highly complementary acquisition for Workday’s own SaaS HR tools.
“Bringing Peakon into the Workday family will be very compelling to our customers – especially following an extraordinary past year that has magnified the importance of having a constant pulse on employee sentiment in order to keep people engaged and productive,” Aneel Bhusri, cofounder and co-CEO of Workday said in a statement.
January 27: SAP to acquire Signavio
German software firm SAP announced it’s acquiring fellow German firm Signavio, which specialises in cloud-native enterprise business process intelligence and management for an undisclosed fee. Signavio was last valued at $400 million after a $177 million funding round in July 2019.
The announcement was made in conjunction with a new product from SAP called Rise, a bundle of existing SAP software and services aimed at offering customers “business transformation-as-a-service”.
SAP will aim to use Signavio’s expertise around business process intelligence to help more customers optimise these processes as they become more digital.
“I cannot over-stress the importance for companies to be able to design, benchmark, improve, and transform business processes across the enterprise to support new capabilities and business models,” Luka Mucic, chief financial officer and member of SAP's Executive Board, said in a statement.
January 20: Citrix to acquire Wrike for $2.25B
Virtualisation specialist Citrix announced the planned acquisition of collaboration software maker Wrike for $2.25 billion in cash. Citrix already has a digital work platform called Workspace and will look to fold the Wrike team and technology into that product.
"Together, Citrix and Wrike will deliver the solutions needed to power a cloud-delivered digital workspace experience that enables teams to securely access the resources and tools they need to collaborate and get work done in the most efficient and effective way possible across any channel, device or location," David Henshall, president and CEO of Citrix, said in a statement.
January 14: Cisco acquires Acacia for $4.5B
Cisco started the year by picking up the optical technology firm Acacia for $4.5 billion. Originally announced in July 2019, there was a lot of back and forth over the deal, with Cisco paying an additional $1.9 billion to get the purchase over the line.
Based in Massachusetts, Acacia specialises in high-speed optical systems such as digital signal processing, photonic integrated circuit modules, and transceivers for use in networking products and data centres — a set of technologies Cisco clearly sees as integral to future networks linking data centers, cloud, and service providers.
"Together we will ignite our strategy to transform the optical world as we know it, with innovative solutions to boost network capacity inside and outside the data centre," Bill Gartner, senior vice president and general manager, Cisco Optical Systems and Optics Group, said in a statement.
Acacia CEO Raj Shanmugaraj and company employees will join Cisco's Optics business upon completion of the deal.
January 13: Qualcomm to Acquire Nuvia for $1.4 billion
Hot on the heels of a burst of semiconductor consolidation at the end of 2020, Qualcomm announced it was acquiring Nuvia for around $1.4 billion.
The two-year-old Santa Clara-based company was founded by a team of Apple engineers and makes high-performance CPU chips.
“The Nuvia team are proven innovators, and like Qualcomm, have a strong heritage in creating leading technology and products…. Together, we are very well positioned to redefine computing and enable our ecosystem of partners to drive innovation and deliver a new class of products and experiences for the 5G era," Cristiano Amon, president and CEO-elect at Qualcomm said in a statement.