Rumors have been circulating that IBM is eyeing a number of potential multi-billion-dollar M&A targets to boost sales. Five notable publicly-traded names come up frequently: Akamai, Imperva, Juniper Networks, NetApp and Splunk. (Note: We’d successfully predicted the IBM acquisition of Softlayer 1.5 months ago on CB Insider)
But these rumors seem to be inconsistent with IBM’s recent acquisition history and guidance from the company itself. IBM CFO, Mark Loughridge, recently commented that “The company’s preference is to strike deals valued at $200 million to $1.5 billion.” He added that, “We are not looking at big acquisitions, nor do we want to communicate that we’re looking at big acquisitions.”
IBM Acquisition History
First, a look back at IBM’s recent private company acquisitions highlight IBM’s strategic areas of focus. Sample acquisitions since 2012 include several DevOps-oriented companies (Green Hat, TeaLeaf and UrbanCode) as well as big data analytics plays (StoredIQ, Star Analytics, Vivisimo). Below is a list of IBM’s acquisitions since 2012:
Given the company’s stated intentions which are largely consistent with the firm’s recent acquisition history and the firm’s goal of doing $20 billion of acquisitions by 2015 (for which they have $14.5 billion of dry powder left per Bloomberg), who are some of the private companies that IBM may want to look at? Which private companies have competitive products and services with the five aforementioned public companies or which might have hybrid cloud technologies, big data analytics or DevOps capabilities consistent with the firm’s areas of focus?
A full list of potential IBM M&A targets can be found on the ‘Research’ tab, after logging in to CB Insights. (Note: The list of companies is only available to CB Insights paid subscribers.)