Global increase in technology mergers and acquisitions

Findings from Ernst & Young's quarterly report.

Global technology mergers and acquisitions (M&A) deals grew during the first quarter (Q1) of 2011, according to Ernst & Young's quarterly report, Global Technology M&A Update, January - March 2011.

Ernst & Young specialises in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The firm reported a growth both in the number of M&A deals and in total value when compared to the same period last year.

During the first quarter of 2011, companies transacted a larger number of smaller, strategically focused deals and thus continued a trend that began in 2010.

Non-technology companies purchased 15 per cent of the quarter's total value in disclosed-value deals, and according to Ernst & Young, this demonstrated that information technology is blurring into other industries at a rapid pace.

"These trends speak to the rapid pace of change driven by the cloud, social networking and smart mobility, and the ways in which technology is becoming an increasing part of everyday life - not just something we do while at work," said Joe Steger, global technology transaction advisory services leader at Ernst & Young. "On the business side, the trends reflect that information is becoming a larger component of the value of all products and services."

Multiple small, strategic deals

Companies are continuously making multiple small acquisitions and leveraging them together to address strategic business initiatives.

Steger noted that this pattern enables buyers to maintain their competitiveness and also capitalise on current and evolving trends.

"However, given the rapid pace and competitive nature of these deals, it still demands rigorous deal valuation, structuring, due diligence and integration."

The report shows cloud computing and SaaS were the drivers for many deals, and in Q1 2011, there were multiple deals in which mobile device manufacturers purchased content and services providers, which ensured their entry into traditionally non-technology industries.

Also, video deals were apparent in every sector in Q1, and a quest for growth was evident in the level of cross-border deals in the same period. Ernst & Young also notes a strong outlook for 2011 M&A.

"These truly exciting technology innovations, the growing cash stockpiles that technology companies are increasingly challenged to put to good use and the strong start to the year represented by these first quarter M&A results suggest a big year for technology M&A in 2011. Realistically, however, we must temper those pluses with concern over increasing divergence between buyers and sellers over valuation, geopolitical unrest, global debt issues and other unforeseeable possibilities," Steger concluded.

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