The biggest enterprise technology M&A deals of 2021

The first three months of 2021 saw three billion-dollar-plus acquisitions in hardware, software, and services, and plenty of other merger activity in professional services.

1 2 3 Page 2
Page 2 of 3

Twilio buys customer data platform Segment for $3.2 billion

Twilio has already worked its way into many enterprises with its range of APIs for voice, text, chat, video and email communication with customers. With its November acquisition of customer data platform Segment for $3.2 billion in stock it aims to extend that reach, controlling not just how customers receive specific messages but also why.

Ericsson pays $1 billion for enterprise 5G vendor Cradlepoint

It’s always been possible for enterprises with large campuses or industrial sites to build out private cellular networks, but the arrival of 5G mobile technology makes it both easier and more interesting. Telecommunications equipment vendor Ericsson primarily sells to telcos, but CIOs should expect a call too, as in November it closed its $1 billion acquisition of Cradlepoint, an Idaho company that sells wireless edge systems to enterprises.

SAP shows it’s still in customer experience game with Emarsys buy

SAP’s acquisition of Austrian omnichannel customer engagement platform vendor Emarsys shows that it’s still very much interested in customer experience. Previously, the company had been sending mixed signals about its commitment to the category, announcing plans in July that it would sell off a stake in Qualtrics, the survey company it paid $8 billion for in 2018. SAP isn’t saying how much it paid for Emarsys, but some reports put the price at around $500 million. Emarsys had previously raised around $55 million in venture funding.

Sinch buys SAP Digital Interconnect

Here’s another acquisition involving SAP — and for once it’s not SAP doing the buying. Sinch is a Swedish provider of cloud-based outbound calling and messaging services for customer engagement. SAP Digital Interconnect (SDI) offers something similar, but with APIs that hook deep into SAP’s ERP and CRM platforms. In November Sinch closed a €225 million ($250 million) acquisition of SDI to expand its engineering team and gain exposure to the enterprise market.

GTT Communications sells infrastructure division to I-Squared Capital

After GTT Communications acquired Interoute, Hibernia and KPN International, it found itself with some excess capacity, including a fiber network spanning 103,000 kilometers and 400 points of presence, three transatlantic cables and 14 data centers. Investment firm I-Squared Capital has snapped those up for $2.15 billion, leaving GTT to focus on cloud networking and what it calls a “capex-light” business model.

Apptio buys SaasLicense

Apptio, a company that helps CIOs figure out how much they’re spending on IT, has bought SaasLicense, a tool to help businesses optimize their spending on software as a service. Apptio won’t say how much it spent.

Progress Software takes charge of Chef Software

App dev platform vendor Progress closed a $220 million deal in mid-October to buy devops/devsecops specialist Chef Software, the company behind Chef Enterprise Automation Stack, Infra, InSpec and other tools to speed software development.

Veeam buys Kubernetes backup specialist Kasten

Veeam has added Kubernetes backup to its range of cloud data management services. In October it paid $150 million for Kasten, whose K10 platform allows enterprises to back up and restore Kubernetes applications wherever they are running.

KKR sells Epicor Software to CD&R for $4.7 billion

KKR, the investment firm that acquired Epicor Software for a rumored $3.3 billion in 2016, has flipped it to another investment firm for $4.7 billion, after a year searching for a buyer. Epicor, a cloud ERP vendor targeting industry verticals in manufacturing, services and distribution, is the first big move into tech for Clayton, Dubilier & Rice. CD&R says it wants to expand Epicor’s product portfolio and grow the firm through further acquisitions. (Under KKR’s ownership it bought docSTAR, MechanicNet and 1 EDI Source.) KKR hasn’t abandoned software altogether: It still owns BMC Software, acquired in a 2018 deal said to be worth $8.5 billion.

SugarCRM buys Node

Sales staff increasingly expect their CRM tools to tell them which of their customers to contact next and why, rather than helping them remember what they bought last time or the name of their dog. That’s prompted SugarCRM to snap up Node, a Silicon Valley startup that offers a range of AI-based predictive analytics tools for automating sales and marketing functions. It’s SugarCRM’s fourth acquisition in two years: The others were Collabspot (email integration), Salesfusion (marketing automation) and Corvana (sales analytics).

Analog Devices to buy Maxim Integrated Products for $21 billion

Analog Devices wants to combine its experience in high-frequency radio semiconductors with the strengths of Maxim Integrated Products in making components for data centers. These markets are colliding as computing associated with the internet of things moves to the edge of 5G network infrastructure. Although the two chipmakers announced in mid-July that they plan to merge, the $21 billion deal won’t close until the middle of 2021.

NetApp buys Spot to optimize costs

NetApp, big in hybrid cloud infrastructure, has mopped up Spot, a much smaller business specializing in cloud cost optimization. The deal, rumored to be worth $450 million, closed mid-July. Spot — now Spot by NetApp — offers compute and storage cost optimization tools that the company says can help spendthrift enterprises save up to 90% on cloud costs.

Databricks acquires dashboarding tool Redash

Databricks has enhanced its data analytics platform with the acquisition of Redash, the company behind an open source dashboarding tool for data scientists. Databricks has some solid technical chops: It was founded by creators of the big data analytics engine Apache Spark and of Delta Lake, an open source storage layer for data lakes, and offers enterprise services built on top of them. While Databricks’ data analytics platform can already be connected to Redash, the acquisition will allow Databricks to more fully integrate the two.

BMC Software buys Compuware

For all the talk of disruptive technologies, mainframes remain at the heart of many businesses today, and it is this fact — and the enterprise’s need for modernization — that fueled the merger of two specialists in software modernization. The combination of BMC’s Automated Mainframe Intelligence (AMI) and Compuware’s product range, which closed on June 1, will help enterprises manage mainframes as part of their DevOps strategies. Compuware last changed hands for around $2.4 billion in 2014 in a buyout by private equity firm Thoma Bravo, which took the company private and split it into two entities, Compuware’s mainframe software business and Dynatrace, which was spun out to focus on software management. BMC isn’t saying how much it paid for Compuware this time around.

Cincinnati Bell sells to Macquarie Infrastructure

Early next year, enterprises in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Hawaii will find their local telco is under new ownership. In December 2019, it seemed a done deal that Brookfield Infrastructure Partners would acquire Cincinnati Bell for $2.6 billion. In early March 2020, though, Cincinnati received a higher offer from Macquarie Infrastructure and, after a short bidding war, broke off the engagement to strike a deal with Macquarie worth $2.9 billion, which shareholders finally accepted in May. Customers counting on Cincinnati’s ambitious fiber upgrade and 5G rollout plans may have dodged a bullet: Brookfield, the rejected suitor, focuses on generating stable cash flows from minimum maintenance capital expenditures.

Palo Alto Networks secures connection with CloudGenix

April saw the acquisition by Palo Alto Networks of software-defined-WAN specialist CloudGenix for $420 million, allowing the cybersecurity firm to add SD-WAN functions to its Prisma Access secure edge platform.

Microsoft affirms interest in 5G networks

Affirmed Networks makes software for building virtualized, cloud-based telecommunications networks, and counts some of the world’s biggest telcos among its customers. Now it’s part of Microsoft, which sees in the acquisition a way to expand its relationships with mobile network operators and play a role in the deployment of 5G services.

Quantum buys WD’s object storage unit ActiveScale

Quantum, a data storage vendor, has bitten off a chunk of Western Digital, the hard disk giant that bought flash storage vendor SanDisk back in 2015. When WD decided it could do without ActiveScale, a business unit that makes object storage systems, Quantum saw an opportunity to beef up its high-speed unstructured data storage capabilities.

Equinix buys Packet Host

Data center owner Equinix has added a new string to its bow with the March acquisition of Packet Host, a specialist in bare metal automation for a reported $330 million. Equinix says the deal will help its customers deploy multicloud infrastructure without the overhead associated with virtualization or multitenancy.

Clarivate Analytics buys Decision Resources

Data vendor Clarivate closed its $950 million purchase of Decision Resources in March 2020. Clarivate gathers information about trademarks, patents, scientific research and industrial standards, selling the databases to enterprises under a variety of brands. CIOs that want to hang on to valuable domain names might already know Clarivate’s MarkMonitor brand. With the acquisition of Decision Resources, Clarivate now has a greater range of data about the medical and health care industries at its disposal.

Salesforce buys Vlocity for $1.3 billion

Vlocity is one of Salesforce’s biggest cheerleaders: It builds industry-specific CRM solutions on top of Salesforce for communications, government, health, insurance, media and utility companies. Salesforce’s February 2020 acquisition of Vlocity will reinforce its vertical-market offering. It took a big step in this direction in September 2019, adding consumer goods and manufacturing clouds to the banking, financial services and life sciences CRM tools it already offered.

Kronos merges with Ultimate Software

Human capital management (HCM) software vendors Kronos and Ultimate announced their merger in February 2020, although it’s a wonder it didn’t happen a year earlier. That’s when private equity firm Hellman & Friedman, already the majority owner of Kronos, took control of Ultimate too. Kronos’ CEO Aron Ain is staying on to head the combined company, while Ultimate CEO Adam Rogers is leaving. For now, both companies’ product lines will be maintained.

1 2 3 Page 2
Page 2 of 3
Discover what your peers are reading. Sign up for our FREE email newsletters today!