The massive price tags paid for AppDynamics this week and Stemcentrx last year ranked them in the all-time top 10 for M&A deals among VC-backed companies.

Just one week ahead of AppDynamics‘ scheduled IPO, Cisco surprised the industry with a blockbuster acquisition of the app monitoring company, which it bought for a whopping $3.7B. This follows a string of large M&A deals, including selling to Walmart for $3.3B in August 2016.

But perhaps most notable was an earlier deal in April 2016, when cancer therapeutics startup Stemcentrx was acquired for $10.2B by pharmaceutical giant AbbVie in one of the largest-ever M&A exits of a VC-backed private company. (Around that time, we’d been highlighting Stemcentrx in our research on funding to cancer startups and how hedge funds and investment banks were leaping into private healthcare investing.)

How do these recent mega-deals rank historically? Using CB Insights data, we took a historical look at the largest mergers and acquisitions of VC-backed companies to find out.

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In first place for largest VC-backed M&A remains WhatsApp‘s record-breaking acquisition by Facebook, which settled at $22B when the deal was completed in 2014. 

Second-largest was the just-mentioned cancer-drug maker Stemcentrx, with its $10.2B deal.

And in third was biotech company Acerta Pharma, which sold a majority stake to AstraZeneca at a $7.3B valuation. The recent AppDynamics deal ranks as the eighth largest.

Largest VC Backed MnA

(Note: Only first exits of private companies were included. Acquisition by financial entities such as private equity funds were omitted. Dollars are in nominal terms.)

Taking a look at the sectors that produced the largest M&A by dollar value, the most well-represented in the top 20 was the internet sector, which had 7 companies in the top 21 (including the AppDynamics deal). Next most represented was the mobile & telecommunications sector, followed by healthcare (which had three companies ranked).

At first glance, the list looks dominated by dot-com era deals. And, in fact, 7 deals occurred in a single year: 2000. However,  12 of the top 21 M&A deals have happened in 2005 or later.

See the full table below (click on the companies for profiles on each):

Largest VC-backed M&A History
Rank Company M&A Type Acquirer Date Valuation ($B) Sector
1 WhatsApp Acquired Facebook 2/19/2014 22.0 Mobile & Telecommunications
2 Stemcentrx Acquired AbbVie 4/28/2016 10.2 Healthcare
3 Acerta Pharma Corporate Majority AstraZeneca 12/17/2015 7.27 Healthcare
4 Cerent Corporation Acquired Cisco Systems 11/16/1999 6.9 Mobile & Telecommunications
5 WebMD Health Acquired Healtheon 5/20/1999 4.8 Internet
6 Chromatis Networks Acquired Lucent Technologies 6/15/2000 4.76 Mobile & Telecommunications
7 Siara Systems Acquired Redback Networks 3/10/2000 4.5 Mobile & Telecommunications
8 AppDynamics Acquired Cisco 1/17/2017 3.7 Internet
9 Ganji Merger 4/15/2015 3.6 Internet
10 Legendary Entertainment Corporate Majority Wanda Group 1/5/2016 3.5 Media (Traditional)
11 Sirocco Systems Acquired Sycamore Networks 9/20/2000 3.49 Electronics
12 Octane Software Acquired E.piphany 5/8/2000 3.41 Internet
13 Acquired Walmart 8/8/2016 3.3 Internet
14 Xros Acquired Nortel Networks 6/19/2000 3.23 Computer Hardware & Services
15 Nest Labs Acquired Google 2/12/2014 3.2 Energy & Utilities
16 Supercell Acquired GungHo Online, Softbank Corp. 10/15/2013 3.0 Internet
17 Cyras Systems Acquired Ciena 12/20/2000 2.83 Electronics
18 Avito Corporate Majority Naspers 10/23/2015 2.73 Internet
19 Boston Biomedical Acquired Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma 3/1/2012 2.63 Healthcare
20 Skype Acquired eBay 6/16/2005 2.6 Mobile & Telecommunications
21 Qtera Corporation Acquired Nortel Networks 1/10/2000 2.48 Mobile & Telecommunications

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