Today, advertising, media and search acquisitions have waned. Hardware, social and mobile acquisitions have become the flavor of the season.
We have seen hundreds of tech acquisitions over the past 15 years, both big and small. The new generation of tech companies has seen the previous generation of tech giants stagnate or wither. They came up with an innovative idea, they grew, established themselves, then slowed down and died. But the new generation of tech companies is trying to stay young and relevant by acquiring the hot and promising start-ups. As a result, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), salesforce.com, inc. (NYSE:CRM), Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR), Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) and others have been aggressively acquiring other companies.
Tech acquisitions a way of survival for big companies
That seems to be a natural progression. You work hard for years or decades to build your company. You don’t want to see the existence of your business at risk when a punk kid comes out of nowhere with a crazy new idea and turns it into a promising business. What are you going to do when you know that either they will eat your lunch or you go buy their lunch?
Business insurer Simply Business has created an interesting infographic (via TechCrunch). It highlights some of the key trends and the biggest acquisitions by tech companies over the past 15 years. Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) witnessed a drought of acquisitions in 2011 and 2012 before Marissa Mayer joined the company has its CEO. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has $160 billion in cash. But the iPhone maker hasn’t made any big acquisitions. Tim Cook has been strategically buying new companies to add more patents to Apple’s already strong portfolio. Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is aggressively focusing on acqui-hires, i.e., talent-focused acquisitions. And yes, tech acquisitions witnessed a recession in 2008 and 2009.
The biggest tech acquisitions
Here is the list of the biggest tech acquisitions (where the companies officially disclosed the prices):
- Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL): AuthenTec ($356 million), Anobit ($390 million)
- Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN): Kiva Systems ($775 million), Zappos ($900 million)
- Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG): YouTube ($1.65 billion), DoubleClick ($3.1 billion), Nest Labs ($3.2 billion), Motorola Mobility ($12.5 billion)
- Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO): Tumblr ($1.1 billion), Overture ($1.83 billion), Broadcast.com ($5 billion)
- Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB): Instagram ($1 billion), WhatsApp ($19 billion)
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s recent WhatsApp acquisition raised eyebrows. So, here is a chart comparing the amount paid per user in various tech acquisitions over the last 15 years. You can see the original infographic here.
Visual Infographic Below.