Tech industry's biggest M&A deals of 2009

Cisco, Dell and Oracle among the list of high-profile buyers in 2009

The top 10 mergers and acquisitions in the network industry in 2009 all cracked the billion-dollar barrier, and involved vendors in hardware, IT services, collaboration, storage, wireless infrastructure and other segments. IT behemoths such as Oracle, Cisco, Dell, HP, EMC and IBM were among the biggest spenders.

Here are the top 10 acquisitions from 2009 based on publicly disclosed transaction values, including some deals that are still pending and may not be completed until 2010.

1. Oracle-Sun: $US7.4 billion

It seems a long time ago that Oracle announced its blockbuster deal to purchase the struggling Sun Microsystems, giving the industry's largest database software vendor entry into the server and storage markets. The acquisition, still pending, was announced in April, and may even be blocked because European regulators are contending that combining Oracle's technology with Sun's open source MySQL database would violate competition laws. Oracle-Sun is by no means a done deal, but if it goes through it would give Larry Ellison new ammunition against Microsoft (in the database market) and against big hardware vendors such as IBM, HP and Dell.

2. Xerox-Affiliated Computer Services: $6.4 billion

In one fell swoop Xerox was able to triple its services revenue from $3.5 billion to $10 billion a year with the purchase of business process outsourcer Affiliated Computer Services. The agreement, announced in September, combines 74,000 ACS employees with Xerox's staff of 54,000, which runs the company's longtime photocopier business and various document management technologies and services. Xerox believes ACS will help it penetrate new markets without huge amounts of overlap, saying that only about 20% of the companies' customers are common to both businesses.

3. Dell-Perot Systems: $3.9 billion

Just days before Xerox's big move, Dell announced an agreement to buy Perot Systems, another major IT services firm founded by Ross Perot. Dell is betting that Perot will help it become a leading services company, and allow it to sell more hardware to existing Perot customers, many of whom are in the healthcare and government industries. Dell's purchase can also be seen as a response to rival HP's $13.9 billion acquisition the previous year of EDS -- another services company founded by Perot.

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