2014 has already seen massive tech M&A with WhatsApp, Nest and Oculus alone being acquired for more than $24B in aggregate exit value. Using CB Insights data, we ranked the most active tech acquirers by year to see who’s snatching up the most private tech companies and how the active acquirer landscape has shifted over time.
Below are some highlights:
- 5 companies consistently rank in the top tech acquirers by year: Google, Facebook, IBM, Cisco, and 3D Systems
- Google was displaced from the number one position by Yahoo! in only one year – 2013. It’s worth noting that Yahoo’s acquisitions tended to be small acqui-hires of failing companies.
- Zynga went on an acquisition spree between 2010 and 2011 gobbling up lots of small private game development shops but has slowed down significantly since due in large part to its subpar public market performance
- IBM and Cisco both remain active acquirers of tech companies but have become relatively less active over time
- Over the time period, Google has acquired 2 times as many companies as 2nd place acquirer, Yahoo!
- In total, the top acquirers of 2009 made 55 disclosed private company acquisitions compared to the 200+ that have already occurred in 2014. It is definitely a bull market.
The highlights below show the companies that have consistently been top acquirers and some of the movements in their M&A rankings over time. Of course, Yahoo’s sudden rise as an acquirer in 2013 and 2014 is easily seen as well.
* M&A data is through 9/22/2014