Out-Law / Your Daily Need-To-Know

Tech acquisitions in 2014

Out-Law News | 03 Nov 2014 | 4:20 pm | 102 min. read

We identify the most important technology mergers and acquisitions of 2014 every month, pulling out trends and patterns to help you to understand who is buying what companies, and why. 

October

A high-value purchase of a media monitoring company demonstrated the value behind data-driven software and databases in transforming traditional business services, in this case PR. There has been a lot of talk about boards not talking enough about cyber risk. With JP Morgan reporting yet another significant data breach, BAE Systems continued the trend of existing players looking to improve their cyber product suites. But perhaps more noteworthy than the acquisitions in October were the spin-offs announced. eBay and Paypal and as we highlight below IBM and its chip making business.

Media

Target: Gorkana
Bidder/Acquirer: GTCR
Reported value: £200m
GTCR purchased Gorkana, the latest in a number of similar buys of public relations software and services companies by the US private equity firm. Rather than purchasing unique technology, GTCR's decision to acquire Gorkana seems to give it more comprehensive coverage in media monitoring markets - servicing both public relations and journalists.
The deal is interesting as it again highlights how data driven strategies are disrupting business services. Combined with other GTCR businesses, Gorkana provides a powerful database and tools through which businesses can engage in effective PR and reach the public, stakeholders and existing and prospective clients.


Cyber

Target: SilverSky
Bidder/Acquirer: BAE Systems
Reported value: £232.5m
SilverSky, the information security company, services businesses that operate in critical infrastructure markets such as financial services, healthcare and energy. Its selling points include an ability to avoid deploying new layers of network protection and its delivery model - a web-based SilverSky Management Console that also enables compliance reporting and risk mitigation.
The acquisition gives BAE Systems a greater ability to provide services to protect critical information and networks and detect cyber threats and critical data.


Ad-Tech

Target: Struq
Bidder/Acquirer: Quantcast
Reported value: Not disclosed
Struq targets high-spending customers with personalised advertising. It describes itself as "the leading Cross Device Retargeting and ad personalization platform." Its aim is to enable integrated marketing campaigns that target customers across all forms of media and channels. It says that it its technology "makes 3.4 billion decisions every day to make sure that the relevant ad is served to the right user."
The deal is interesting as in the context of regulatory change at EU level in terms of customer profiling. 2015 may be the year in which the Data Protection Regulation, a proposed piece of EU legislation, comes into force. According to the European Parliament documents it is intended that under the Regulation "As is the case with any collection, processing and use of data, a general ban is introduced on profiling as defined in article 4, and it [profiling] is only permissible where provided for by law." Article 4, as proposed by the European Parliament defines 'profiling' as "...any form of automated processing of personal data intended to evaluate certain personal aspects relating to a natural person or to analyse or predict in particular that natural person’s performance at work, economic situation, location, health, personal preferences, reliability or behaviour."
For businesses like Struq operating in European markets, the Data Protection Regulation may mean that further attention will be paid to how customer profiles created for advertising purposes are established and maintained.


MIBM IBM Sells Its Making Division to GlobalFoundries


2014 has been a year of high profile disposals for IBM. In January, IBM sold part of its server business to the Chinese company Lenovo. On 20 October, IBM further announced that it had agreed to pay GlobalFoundries, the Abu Dhabi government’s investment arm, $1.5 billion over the next three years for it to take IBM’s unprofitable chip making division.

It is interesting to note that IBM had to pay to dispose of what has historically been an integral part of IBM’s business. Not only will the disposal remove a drag on IBM’s overall profits but it will also enable IBM to avoid billions of dollars of capital expenditure required to upgrade its manufacturing plants. However, given that IBM is renowned for its innovation, cutting edge technology and research development, will this disposal mean the end of IBM as a pioneer of computer hardware development?

Over the past few years, Intel Corp’s dominance in the chip market has left IBM with a smaller role in the industry. This is in part due to the huge costs IBM has faced in upgrading the equipment used in the chip manufacturing and development processes. GlobalFoundries, the second largest provider of chips after Taiwan’s TSMC, has the resources required to fund such upgrades and as part of the deal it will inherit 5,000 engineers and a substantial amount of IBM’s intellectual property in this field. In return, IBM has secured its future supply chain by entering into an exclusive 10 year agreement through which GlobalFoundries will provide the chips it requires.

Technology specialist Thilo Schneider of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said that "the fact that IBM was willing to pay $1.5 billion to get rid of its chip making division shows how expensive it is to operate in, and try to lead, the market. The disposal will enable IBM to keep up-to-date with developments in its sector without being held back by the cost of upgrading its facilities each year".

IBM will be able to operate more cost effectively following the disposal and, given GlobalFoundries resources and the exclusive supply agreement,  IBM will actually benefit from more manufacturing technology. Ultimately, IBM cannot rely on its historical strengths but must look to future technology. As IBM chief executive Virginia Rometty said, "we’ve got to reinvent ourselves, like the way we have done in previous generations".

IBM has responded by developing over 100 business apps for Apple, providing cloud based internet services for German software company SAP and seeking to develop cognitive technology through its Watson program. It will be interesting to see whether the disposal of what has been seen as one of IBM’s core divisions will re-secure its position as a leader of cutting edge technology.


September

September ended with the news that IBM and Lenovo are closing a deal for IBM's x86 server division. For IBM, the deal demonstrated commitment to its strategy of moving away from hardware, and for Lenovo, a growing belief of its ability to compete in the large and medium enterprise space globally. This was one of the tech merger and acquisitions highlights for September but by no means the only one. Just as important were details of a vehicle manufacturer acquiring a taxi-hailing app, a major UK infrastructure software company buying an even larger competitor across the Atlantic and Microsoft moving its gaming strategy away from heavy reliance on Xbox. Below we look at some of these developments in more detail.

Gaming

Target: Mojang
Bidder/Acquirer: Microsoft
Reported value: $2.5bn
Microsoft paid $2.5 billion to acquire Mojang and its popular game, Minecraft in an attempt to tap into its fiercely loyal community of 100 million gamers and benefit from reported profits of $115 million per year without the huge costs associated with modern game development. With an increasing number of people choosing to play games on mobile platforms, Minecraft enables Microsoft to expand its offering away from its console, the Xbox, and give it a presence across all the major operating systems; from Apple’s iOS devices to Google’s Android.
Microsoft’s acquisition continues the long-established trend in Silicon Valley of large technology companies acquiring small start-ups with huge followings, rather than taking the risk of developing and growing their own products.
Thilo Schneider, technology mergers and acquisitions expert at Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com said: “This deal is interesting not just because of the huge numbers involved for such a simple product but also because it raises the question of how gaming fits in with Microsoft’s stated goal of providing its customers with an ‘ecosystem’ of essential services for better communicating and organising their lives.”


Mobile business technology

Target: Movirtu
Bidder/Acquirer: Blackberry
Reported value: undisclosed
BlackBerry’s acquisition of the UK company Movirtu underlines the view that the sale of mobile phone handsets is appearing more and more to be a break-even business, only accounting for a quarter of BlackBerry’s profits, and that the real money is made in software.
Historically BlackBerry has profited from subscription fees paid for the use of the BlackBerry Enterprise Server which provides users with a high level of secure data encryption. BlackBerry’s most recent acquisition reflects the company’s intention to pioneer mobile software development and, in this instance, provide a virtual identity solution for mobile operators. The technology offered by Movirtu will enable the interchange of employee identities on a single mobile device and builds on the company’s core strengths, mobile data security and mobile device management.
This move is in keeping with Blackberry’s previous acquisitions, such as that of voice encryption service Secusmart, and shows continued focus on its traditional market of corporate and government end users who demand flexibility but also security. This deal is interesting because it shows the growing divergence within the mobile phone market between attracting customers through ‘must have’ handsets, such as the iPhone, and attracting customers on the basis of keeping data secure and improving mobile device management.


Cloud

Target: Concur
Bidder/Acquirer: SAP
Reported value: $8.3bn
SAP has spent a reported $8.3bn not on unique technology, but on the acquisition of a significant customer list in an effort to expand its portfolio of B2B cloud services. Concur is a business travel management platform and may have added attraction to IT customers as it processes business travel related data, the types of data that are not usually considered mission-critical to a business and which many  businesses may be willing to migrate to a public cloud  environment.
With this purchase SAP moves closer to becoming a full service B2B public cloud provider. The deal is also interesting in terms of what it means for customers of SAP products that already provide some of the features or functionality of Concur's platform. When negotiating with suppliers, IT customers should bear in mind the trend towards suppliers maintaining their existing product lines while at the same time acquiring similar feature-rich alternatives.


Infrastructure software

Target: The Attachmate Group
Bidder/Acquirer: Micro Focus
Reported value: $1.2bn
As regularly reported on Out-Law.com, businesses across almost all sectors are looking to renew or replace their legacy technology systems and to provide more customer-centric, convenient digital solutions. Micro Focus, which services major banking, retail and airline customers amongst others, has positioned itself as a legacy modernisation partner for businesses dependent on mainframe solutions and other forms of legacy technology. Its acquisition of The Attachmate Group furthers this strategy.
The dea
l is interesting due to its scale. Analysts indicate that the merger will create an infrastructure software company that can compete at a global level. 


Apps

Target: Ridescout, myTaxi
Bidder/Acquirer: Moovel (Daimler subsidiary)
Reported value: Less than $100m
Moovel's acquisition of the Ridescout and myTaxi apps is a further example of digital convergence as manufacturers, in this case of vehicles, look to move into related digital service markets. Daimler AG which already is the parent company of car2Go, a subscription based mobile app vehicle sharing club, is an early player in the market for the simplification of mobility and transport services. Its acquisition of these businesses indicates that it is looking to further invest in this market.


August

With an expectation that Alibaba will raise around $20 billion when listed on the New York Stock Exchange this month in what could be the largest ever initial public offering and Amazon's reported $970 million purchase of Twitch, e-commerce giants were again in focus in August. Significant purchases were also made in cyber security, mobile channels and artificial intelligence.

Gaming

Target: Twitch
Bidder: Amazon
Value: $870 million
Some were surprised to learn of Amazon's interest in Twitch, a video gaming platform. The deal however is another indication of market convergence and the insatiability of leading online businesses to diversify. The report purchase price is almost five times that of Amazon's earlier purchase of Lovefilm, the video streaming platform and three times that of Audible, an audio book service. 


Security

Target: Gemalto NV, Netherlands
Bidder: SafeNet, US
Value: $890 million
This acquisition will allow Gemalto to broaden its data protection services against cyber attacks as well as assist its US growth. Companies are keen to prevent high profile security breaches as has happened to eBay and Target. The cryptographic systems SafeNet uses in its cloud based security will complement Gemalto's authentication technology. SafeNet's clients include Bank of America Corp, Starbucks and Netflix. 

Target: PrivateCore, US
Bidder: Facebook, US
Value: Undisclosed
PrivateCore creates software to ensure server security and was founded by former employees of VMware and Google. PrivateCore's CEO Oded Horovitz announced that "Facebook plans to deploy our technology into the Facebook stack to help protect the people who use Facebook". This acquisition will allow Facebook to make the customer data on its servers more secure.


Mobile

Target: Emu, US
Bidder: Google, US
Value: Undisclosed
Emu is an "online communications channel" whose software has the ability to monitor user's conversations and subsequently sent targeted links including adverts. Google has reportedly "said that it may eventually show ads on internet connected home devices". This acquisition will enable Google to monitor chats in addition to the search and email monitoring that it already does. Google may also look at using Emu's technology to monitor the range of facilities on an Android phone including the phone's listed contacts, location data and the calendar. 


Apps

Target: Jetpac
Bidder: Google, US
Value: Undisclosed
Jetpac creates city guides using a method of artificial intelligence to analyse photos that people have uploaded to the internet. Jetpac uses "image recognition and neural network technology" (Guardian) to determine, for example, which places provide the best venues, are the happiest or are trending as the most popular destination.
This is another AI acquisition for Google following on from Nest.


Media

Target: Directr
Bidder: YouTube, Google, US
Value: Undisclosed
Directr is a mobile video app that allows small businesses to produce their own marketing videos. The apps' functions let a user record and edit footage before uploading the video online. Google anticipates that by offering this type of service small business will opt to place more ads on its site.
VentureBeat


July

This month's acquisitions have been focused on social, mobile, analytics and cloud trends. As businesses continue to focus on operating multi channel strategies and focusing on mobile platforms the giant technology companies have responded by acquiring a number of mobile related companies.

These have centred on mobile video advertising with Facebook's purchase of LiveRail; mobile compatible software with Yahoo's purchase of RayV and Salesforce's of RelateIQ; mobile app analytics with Yahoo's acquisition of Flurry; and mobile payments with Twitter's deal to buy CardSpring.

Twitter’s acquisition this month of Madbits, an artificial intelligence company that has developed technology which recognises digital images using deep learning, highlights the level of interest in artificial intelligence (AI) in the aftermath of Google's purchase of Deep Mind in January. The technology acquired by Twitter will assist it build an image search system. Twitter will also be aiming to analyse the images users post to enhance user experience and provide targeted adverting for businesses.

For some time now Amazon Web Services (AWS) has been the dominant cloud services provider. But over recent months competitors have been challenging and strengthening the nature and range of cloud services they provide. According to a report from Synergy Research Group, IBM and Microsoft, two of AWS's competitors, have experienced significant growth this quarter. Microsoft has purchased InMage, a company that provides business continuity solutions to enterprises using the cloud. It has also appointed wireless industry veteran John W Stanton to its board, a move that underlines its 'mobile first, cloud first' strategy.

Apple’s has created a partnership with IBM designed to propel its mobile devices into businesses. Apple and IBM plan to develop apps and business services that use IBM's analytics capabilities. Blackberry, meanwhile, continues to try to retain its business customers. It has acquired Secusmart, a Germany company which specialises in mobile security, for an undisclosed sum. Security continues to be an area on which IT budgets are focused and recognising the opportunities that growing reliance on the cloud presents for security vendors, IBM has purchased CrossIdeas, an Italian cloud security company.

It has also been reported that Google has now purchased Twitch, a potential deal we flagged in May. Twitch to date has primarily been involved in the live streaming of video games, but its services have now been further extended

Media

Bidder: Facebook, US
Target: Liverail, US
Value:  Estimated $400 million to $500m
Start-up LiveRail is a video advertising technology company which helps online publishers and advertisers directly target 7 billion video adverts to millions of internet users. LiveRail uses a variety of technology including analytics, real-time bidding and "Checkpoint", the latter of which avoids children being targeted with advertising for underage and inappropriate products, for example, tobacco and alcohol.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Facebook will be able to target users with video advertising across the internet and not just on its own site by combining user data mined on Facebook with LiveRail's own data. In May 2014 Facebook launched Audience Network, a mobile ad network which allows marketers to advertise in mobile apps which will be complemented by LiveRail's video techniques. 
Why is the deal interesting?
Companies are seeking to capitalise on a growing interest in the online video advertising market. The real-time bidding technology LiveRail uses allows advertisers to optimize the ads they select from a variety of advertising networks to target users and influence their buying behaviour. Combining the technology from both companies will also let advertisers target video adverts at app users. This appears to be a strategic choice by Facebook at a time when some are suggesting that mobile users are accessing internet content more via apps than the mobile web. Facebook has also announced a 67% growth in advertising revenue compare to Q2 in 2013 with 62% of all revenue from mobile ads.

Bidder: Yahoo, US
Target: RayV, US
Value:  Undisclosed
RayV focuses on streaming high-quality video to online audiences including mobile viewers on a vast scale. The company's software provides digital rights and content management systems as well as a content distribution network. 
How does it benefit the acquirer?
This acquisition will enhance Yahoo's infrastructure in this area including mobile and enable it to successfully deliver its video content and strategy to its users. Early this month Yahoo Live! launched which streams one concert per day in conjunction with LiveNation. 
Why is the deal interesting?
It indicates the continuing popularity of streaming video content and the need for more competitive platforms that deliver what consumers want. The majority of RayV's staff will join Yahoo's research and development team in Tel Aviv, underlying the continuing importance of product investment.


Cloud

Bidder: Microsoft, US
Target: InMage, US
Value: Undisclosed
InMage provides enterprise customers with business continuity solutions. These solutions which utilise its 'Scout tools' are disk based and store data either in the cloud or on an appliance.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
This deal complements Microsoft's cloud strategy which is "to provide hybrid cloud business continuity solutions for any customer IT environment". It has been reported that enterprises have made it known to Microsoft that while they want to take advantage of the cloud it is essential that solutions are provided to ensure business continuity. Microsoft will integrate InMage technology into its Azure cloud solution.
Why is the deal interesting?
This deal underlines Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's objective to keep Microsoft progressing in a "mobile first, cloud first" technology ecosystem. Recent reports indicate that Microsoft and others are impacting on Amazon Web Service's previously dominant position in cloud. This deal, together with Microsoft's strategy, indicates how quickly landscapes can change in the digital market.


Internet of things

Bidder: Atmel, US
Target: Newport Media, US           
Value: $140m
Newport Media produces Bluetooth and low power Wi-Fi high performance and cost effective solutions for use in broadcasting (including mobile TV, set top boxes, cable and LCD), mobile networks and wireless connectivity.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
With this purchase semi conductor company Atmel is following the acquisition trend of companies strategically buying businesses with technology that is equipped to engage in and capitalise on the Internet of Things market. Atmel will combine its chips with Newport's equipment for use across the home, industry and building automation services.
Why is the deal interesting?
This deal highlights how important it is for companies to be flexible in today's technology market and consider how they will react and compete in a rapidly changing ecosystem. The Internet of Things is forecast to grow substantially in the forthcoming years and Atmel is putting itself in an ideal position to take advantage of this expanding market. As machine to machine communications increase it is essential that devices can connect on the same platform for the full benefits of the internet of things to be realised. To facilitate this companies are collaborating to create protocols and Newport Media is working with ZigBee. This month the Thread Group that includes Samsung, Nest and ARM launched Thread which "adds software for functions such as security, routing, setup and device wakeup that should save battery life and make IoT easier for consumers to use". 

Bidder: PowerCloud Systems, US
Target: Newport Media, US           
Value: $140m
PowerCloud Systems makes Wi-Fi routers and develops analytic software as well as equipment for monitoring the internet.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Comcast intends to integrate some of PowerCloud's technology into a combined router/modem it has been developing to detect the devices which connect and disconnect to the home network as they enter and exit a property. Comcast's focus is to provide a very secure router which will distinguish its product from others. Comcast will have the potential to acquire new customers while being able to offer new services to existing broadband customers.
Why is the deal interesting?
It indicates how security is an increasing priority across computing and for companies who want to take advantage of the Internet of Things market. It also demonstrates how telecoms are diversifying the range of products they offer in a digital age. 


Telecoms

Bidder: TeliaSonera, Sweden        
Target: Tele2 AB, Sweden
Value: $744m
TeliaSonera is acquiring Tele2 AB's business in Norway which became available after Tele 2 AB's strategic assessment of its business following adjustments in Norway's telecoms market after its license auction in December 2013.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
TeliaSonera will increase its market presence in Norway from approximately 23% to 40% while its subscription base will grow to 2.7 million. This expansion will enable TeliaSonera to compete more effectively with its closest rival in Norway, Telenor ASA that has roughly 3.22 million wireless customers. TeliaSonera expects to make some cost savings as a result of business synergies.
Why is the deal interesting?
It is another example in the reduction of network providers in a country potentially being reduced from four to three. While this acquisition will need regulatory approval from the Norwegian Competition Authority, a similar scenario in Germany concerning Telefonica Deutschland's acquisition of E-Plus recently received approval from the European Commission. In respect of Tele2 it also demonstrates how companies are divesting areas of their business which they no longer consider profitable and the impact on companies that have been operating successfully (Tele 2 Norway was established in 1996) when they do not succeed in spectrum auctions for the next generation of connectivity.


Analytics

Bidder: Salesforce, US
Target: RelateIQ, US
Value: $390m
RelateIQ automatically tracks relationships between CRM software solutions and businesses using data mining technology. Without the need to enter data manually, RelateIQ's software provides insight into professional relationships by analysing marketing, service and sales data.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Integrating RelateIQ's technology into Salesforce's CRM platform and application will provide it with the latest software design in this area. It may offer customers an agile solution and a system of data collection that is more autonomous and provides more instantaneous results compared to what Salesforce presently offers. 
Why is the deal interesting?
This acquisition indicates how important Salesforce is views developing Business Intelligence capabilities. It is a further example of how in today's technology landscape businesses have to constantly review their strategy and products to ensure that they are either in a leading market position and/or maintaining pace with competitors. Salesforce, as with a number of software suppliers, has realised the necessity for applications to be mobile compatible. 
RelateIQ's analytics collects and uses data from smartphones, for example, by using data solely obtained from smartphones it can inform a sales executive about which of his colleagues has the best contact into a prospective client. For data controllers operating within the European Union it is important that data is collected in accordance with the Article 29 Working Party's principle of purpose limitation i.e., that the data collected is for "specific", "explicit" and "legitimate" purposes and is not processed beyond the purposes for which the original data was collected.

Bidder: LinkedIn, US
Target: Newsle, US
Value: Undisclosed
Newsle provides alerts in near real time when a person in your network is mentioned in the media. In recent years Newsle has been developing the search tools it uses, for example, disambiguation and machine learning algorithms as well as natural language processing to improve its service.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
This acquisition aligns with LinkedIn's model of connecting professionals and once Newsle's technology is integrated into LinkedIn's own platform the services it offers its users will be enhanced. At present the email notification which Newsle sends to users names the contributor of the item in the subject heading. This is extremely useful and may lead to users reducing the number of social media platforms they use. 
Why is the deal interesting?
It highlights how technology companies continuously review what services they are providing and consider how user experience can be enhanced. It demonstrates how competitive the social media market is as platforms strive to target new users and retain existing ones. LinkedIn this month has changed the format of user profiles to make it easier for users to grow their business contacts while Facebook announced that it is developing its search site Graph Search which it expects will take several years to refine.
LinkedIn made a second acquisition this month buying marketing company Bizo for $175 million which supports business to business marketers in locating and developing new opportunities. LinkedIn will integrate Bizo's technology into its own platform to expand the advertising and sponsored content side of its business.

Bidder: Yahoo, US
Target: Flurry, US
Value: Undisclosed
Flurry is a company that specialises in mobile app analytics. It assists app developers in monetising their apps, understanding how mobile device owners use apps and how apps best perform in order to optimise the mobile user experience. Flurry's analytics provide targeted advertising which seeks to allow marketers to advertise more effectively.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
This acquisition will support Yahoo's mobile strategy and strengthen its aim to grow its share of revenue from mobile advertising. 
Why is the deal interesting?
The disruption and growth of mobile is relentless and the revenue that can be generated from mobile advertising is becoming more and more significant. eMarketer reports that Google and Facebook are the two most dominant performers in this area with respective shares of 50.2% and 22.3% of the worldwide advertising revenue from mobile internet which eMarketer estimates to be worth $32.71 billion this year. After a disappointing Q2 2014 Yahoo will be looking to increase its traction in this area and obtain a greater share of the revenue generated by concentrating on its mobile advertising strategy which includes acquiring relevant technology and talent.


Software

Bidder: ServiceNow, US
Target: Neebula Systems, Israel
Value: $100m
Neebula Systems' software allows companies to identify the software and systems they are using, often in silos, and enables them to transition to a more cohesive and unified business processing system. According to Neebula upon implementing its software the performance of IT "is 20 times faster and 80% lower cost compared to traditional solutions".
How does it benefit the acquirer?
ServiceNow will integrate Neebula's software into its own to provide a greater portfolio of services to its clients. Clients will be given a complete overview of all the services they use with the option to transition them to one platform and take advantage of the benefits from using a consolidated platform including big data analytics. 
Why is the deal interesting?
This deal demonstrates how suppliers of business services are focused on ensuring that their services portfolio allows customers to implement and benefit from a digital strategy. ServiceNow says it can provide customers with a single platform that integrates data from a variety of different systems in order that customers can take full advantage of the benefits a digital model offers.


Mobile payments

Bidder: Twitter, US
Target: CardSpring, US
Value: Undisclosed
Application platform CardSpring provides the facility for app developers to create apps that link loyalty cards, electronic coupons and virtual currencies to credit/debit cards. When customers pay for a transaction CardSpring identifies the user's unique card details and applies the relevant offer. CardSpring's analytics track and examine how users spend vouchers and evaluate purchases made before reporting back to businesses on how successful a particular promotion was or loyalty scheme is operating.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
By integrating CardSpring's technology into its own platform Twitter will become increasingly attractive to enterprises, particularly to retailers with physical shops who can entice users into store with promotions and vouchers. This deal also supports Twitters increased focus on mobile.
Why is the deal interesting?
This deal indicates how mobile continues to dominate the technology landscape and how large technology companies including social media operators are concentrating on this area which has the potential to provide a high revenue return as Facebook's Q2 2014 figures displayed. Twitter too has had a successful Q2 2014 with an increase in user numbers and revenue which has largely been attributed to the football World Cup. Its share price rose by 30% as results were reported, and with its retweet feature Twitter has the opportunity to popularise this payment feature and grow its user numbers further.
Technology and payments law expertAngus McFadyen of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said: "This deal shows the increasing demand to integrate payments into social media and increase the advertising related revenue streams of the social media providers. We’ve seen similar action taken recently by Facebook with its “buy” button and Snapchat with recent trade mark applications for payments functions". 


June

This month's deals highlight how businesses are responding to and operating in an increasingly digital landscape. A number of deals, including acquisitions by Facebook, Alibaba and Dropbox, demonstrate the diverse aspects of mobile computing and indicate how the large technology companies want to acquire additional facets of this prevalent market to enhance their digital strategies.

June witnessed how disruptive new technology can be with the London launch of taxi app Uber, which is now valued at $18 billion. Transport for London (TfL) announced that it is seeking a High Court ruling on whether the method Uber uses to provide customers with a price complies with legislation that only allows black cabs to have a meter. TfL considers that it is compliant but wants certainty. In protest at Uber's arrival London's black cabbies created their own disruption, supported by taxi drivers across Europe, by creating traffic congestion in central London and other European cities. 

The strategies of chip producers Broadcom and MediaTek highlight how developments in technology can be approached differently by businesses in a similar field. Broadcom has announced that it is considering winding down or divesting a section of its business which produces chips for the smartphone market due to reduced sales of smartphones in the West. Conversely, MediaTek is actively diverging into the Internet of Things home sector and wearables market.

Apple and Google at their annual conferences this month both demonstrated their vision for integrating the Internet of Things into their respective businesses. In alignment with this approach Google's Nest has purchased Dropcam this month. Vodafone's acquisition of Cobra Automotive Technologies signifies diversification as well as the increasing trend of theconnected car

The advancement in new technology that connects and creates an assortment of data will continue to challenge data protection and privacy regulations. Google's purchase of SkyBox, Nest's of Dropcam and Vodafone's of Cobra Automotive will all provide the acquiring company with a continuous stream of big data. Analytics involving targeted advertising and businesses providing video content continue to be popular areas of acquisitions.

Mobile Data

Bidder: Facebook, US
Target: Pryte, Finland
Value: Undisclosed
Today's smartphones are used more for accessing data including apps and decreasingly to make calls. Pryte's technology allows users to purchase bundles of mobile data with one click in order to access apps without the need to purchase a traditional price plan from a telco.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Facebook is keen to connect new internet users in emerging markets across the globe whose first experience of the internet will likely be via mobile rather than desktop computers or laptops.  This acquisition will assist Facebook in its strategy to obtain its next billion followers by offering users affordable connectivity to its content besides its objective to have a dominant presence on a user's smartphone screen. 
Why is the deal interesting?
This technology is a disruptor that has the potential to alter how users connect to the internet without the need of a network provider. It may change the telco landscape in the same way as 'over the top' messaging apps have dramatically reduced telcos' revenue from SMS. The acquisition shows how the large technology companies are committed to connecting users across the globe where there is little connection at present.
Facebook and Google are both heavily involved with Internet.org, a global partnership with an objective to connect the two thirds of today's population that does not have internet access.


Mobile

Bidder: Alibaba, China
Target: UCWeb, China
Value: Undisclosed
UCWeb is a mobile web browser with leading technology and a strong market position.  Research indicates that 65% of smartphone owners in China use UCWeb's mobile browser. It has an extremely dominant presence in India too where it was the top mobile browser in 2013.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Alibaba's purchase of the remaining 34% of UCWeb it did not already own will strengthen and enhance its mobile strategy. UCWeb's dominance in India may also assist Alibaba's international expansion outside of China in other emerging markets.
Why is the deal interesting?
The integration of UCWeb into Alibaba will largely negate any further comment about Alibaba's "weak" mobile position compared to its main rivals Tencent and Baidu. This purchase is a clear sign to Alibaba's competitors that it will continue to challenge its rivals' more established mobile market share. The fusion of UCWeb and Alibaba businesses with the investment money Alibaba has will allow UCWeb's former employees to develop innovative mobile solutions and technology to support Alibaba's media strategy. This deal also demonstrates that companies which have a robust market position need to be continuously proactive in order to maintain it.  
Alibaba has also purchased a 50% stake in Evergrande football club this month.  While this may be something of a spontaneous purchase there is certainly a convergence happening between sport and technology which Alibaba could take great advantage of including TV rights, mHealth, big data, wearables and digital advertising.


Cloud

Bidder: Dropbox, US
Target: MobileSpan, US           
Value: Undisclosed
MobileSpan allows employees to use their own devices to log on to their employer's network securely. The network is protected via a firewall.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Dropbox is acquiring MobileSpan's knowledge in security. MobileSpan's technology will be integrated into its Dropbox for Business division.  By bolstering the services it offers Dropbox will become a more dominant player amidst the fierce competition from other businesses offering cloud computing solutions. Dropbox will also benefit from the talent within MobileSpan which includes two founders who were engineers at Google Chrome.
Why is the deal interesting?
This deal indicates how important it is for businesses to take a proactive approach to ensure that the company's data is protected when accessed via an employee's device and to make sure that businesses choose a cloud computing supplier who can provide adequate security. This deal is also an example of how companies make acquisitions in order to grow their portfolio of services and obtain external technology which they need but either do not have the time and/or the internal capabilities to develop themselves. 
Dropbox's present strategy clearly includes making business acquisitions to expand its Business and Non Business Services. The company has also acquired Droptalk this month, a messaging service which allows a user while in conversation on screen to simultaneously see if any files are edited or added to a shared folder in the cloud. This feature may be something that Dropbox integrates into its Dropbox for Business portfolio especially as email becomes less popular and other services prove more effective when working with newer technologies. 


MHealth

Bidder: Symphony Technology Group, US        
Target: Healthcare Software Businesses, McKesson Corporation, US
Value: Undisclosed      
McKesson's Healthcare Software Businesses provide leading and innovative technology solutions to customers in the healthcare sector that collate patient's health data and manage a range of patient services across various medical facilities which enable healthcare providers to improve efficiency and reduce costs. The businesses which Symphony Technology Group is acquiring include the UK Health and Social Care enterprise (comprising System C and Liquidlogic) together with software businesses in France and the Netherlands.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Private equity firm Symphony Technology Group (STG) focuses on growing and developing businesses into market leaders. STG has a thorough understanding of the healthcare sector and is keen to strengthen its focus while maintaining its priority on mobile. These acquisitions will enable STG to invest in and create innovative products across its healthcare technology portfolio.
Why is the deal interesting?
While the support of healthcare by technology is one of the latest trends and most expanding areas in technology, the acquisition of healthcare solutions businesses by a private equity company indicates how influential this sector is to enterprises that want to create the most innovative and best value products. STG's customers in the UK will include NHS trusts.STG reports that it is confident it can "help deliver the UK government's vision of integrated digital records and care pathways, crossing health and social care".
“This transaction gives STG an important stake in a healthcare technology sector that is showing rapid growth, in large part driven by the explosion in digital health," Matthew Godfrey-Faussett, a technology law specialist for Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com said. "Payers, service providers and large sections of the patient market all see the digital health innovation as having a major role to play in helping to address the NHS’ burgeoning funding deficit. Clearly STG can see major opportunities for those who help to meet that challenge.”


Software

Bidder: Oracle, US
Target: MICROS Systems, US
Value: $5.3 bn
MICROS Systems provides a range of business solutions for the retail and hospitality sectors including point of sale and cloud services, management software and hardware.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Oracle is confident that this deal will increase its revenue as businesses in the retail and hospitality sectors are not yet using some or all of the digital solutions Oracle offers nor are the sectors maximising the potential of digital. Oracle will assist these sectors to enhance their respective business via the digital solutions it provides including cloud, big data, the Internet of Things, mobile and social solutions. At the same time Oracle will create a specialism for itself in this vertical market. 
Why is the deal interesting?
It indicates that Oracle is looking to grow and strengthen its business via acquisitions with investors predicting that this will be the first of a number of acquisitions Oracle will make this year. The deal demonstrates that Oracle is determined to compete with its more agile competitors in the software market, both internet and cloud based, by making strategic acquisitions.


Analytics

Bidder: Marin Software, US
Target: Perfect Audience, US
Value: $23m
Perfect Audience specialises in retargeting display advertising and users of social network sites.  The company's technology tracks users who have browsed a certain site without making a purchase onto their social networking site where Perfect Audience will place specifically targeted adverts. Perfect Audience has some highly notable clients including Eventbrite and American Apparel.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Perfect Audience's technology provides additional services to what Marin Software presently offers which largely focus on search advertising. Marin Software will ultimately integrate Perfect Audience's technology into its own although for an initial period it will keep Perfect Audience as an independent business. 
Why is the deal interesting?
It indicates how Marin Software is responding to the change in the major source of web advertising revenue in order to keep its business model contemporary and digital approach fresh. Researcher ZenithOptimedia estimates that from 2015 advertising revenue from display ads will exceed search and this will be a continuing trend.

Bidder: Twitter, US
Target: Namo Media, US
Value: Undisclosed
Namo Media assists app developers to include native advertising in the mobile apps they design. The objective of native advertising is to maintain the user experience and be able to blend adverts seamlessly with the content users are viewing to increase the chance that they will click on the advert.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Twitter will integrate Namo Media into its MoPub advertising platform which it bought last year for $350m. It is important for Twitter to generate revenue from advertising as it also continues to consider how to increase its number of users.
Thilo Schneider, a merger and acquisitions expert for Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said: "Twitter is keeping silent on the value of the deal but reports vary between $50-100m. Twitter's share price shows that investors have remained unimpressed with the company's performance so far this year and boosting the company's advertising revenue must be top of its agenda!"
Why is the deal interesting?
The revenue generated from traditional advertising is being overtaken by mobile advertising. Twitter has a unique position as a preferred channel that is used to second screen, which has enabled Twitter to enter exclusive arrangements with television companies producing shows and live events. The ability to use native advertising ought to increase Twitter's revenue further.  Analysts estimate that Twitter's revenue from advertising this year will be in the region of $1 billion; it raised $226m in Q1. 
Twitter also announced this month the acquisition of a second target ad company, startup TapCommerce. Reports estimate that Twitter has paid $100 million for the company which it will again integrate into MoPub to expand the use and precision of targeted advertising to users of its mobile app.


Media

Bidder: Samsung, S Korea
Target: Shelby.tv, US
Value: Undisclosed
Shelby.tv curates video content on a user channel from across the internet including YouTube and Vimeo as well as videos shared from users' peers on social media. Once content is established users' viewing preferences are tracked and new content suggested.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
With this acquisition and its previous acquisition of Boxee, Samsung now has both the technology and talent to create a bespoke video platform and enhance the services and products it offers to customers. Both of these companies are extremely innovative and have the potential to create something extremely unique for Samsung.
Why is the deal interesting?
This is another example of the continuing convergence within TMT and demonstrates how Samsung is keen to develop a media platform as it looks to compete with its closest rival Apple beyond mobile devices and brand.


Satellites

Bidder: Google, US
Target: SkyBox Imagining, US  
Value: $500m
SkyBox Imagining is a satellite company which has a satellite launched 185 miles above the earth, which provide unique levels of knowledge that can be used for commercial purposes.  For example, the data collected could be used to inform companies when the next iPhone is being released, due to the imaging of vehicles outside factories in the East or enable the retail industry to accurately predict the price of crops according to how they have performed throughout their growing cycle.  
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Google will be able to provide digital maps of an even better quality using Skybox's satellite data. While Skybox has only one satellite at present it is Google's intention to produce more in order to provide internet access to those in remote parts of the world or in countries where the infrastructure is not yet established. The satellite(s) has enormous potential which like many new technologies could prove extremely disruptive. It may provide Google will an alternative revenue stream to its traditional source of revenue from search advertising, by charging customers a licence fee for access to the satellite data.
Why is the deal interesting?
It indicates Google's desire to invest and develop in diverse technology, the capabilities of which it can challenge and test. This deal will require regulatory approval from the Federal Communications Commission as well as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In addition, privacy groups are likely to raise questions about whether the collection of satellite data creates any breach of data protection. It may also enable Google to obtain millions, if not billions, of new users from emerging markets.
Data protection expert Marc Dautlich of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said: "Google’s acquisition of Skybox not only promises to improve existing services like Google Earth and Google Maps, it also provides an opportunity for a new revenue stream for Google: satellite-sourced analytics are valuable in a range of sectors. In energy and insurance, they can provide early warning of natural disasters and drive investment decisions based on discoveries of potential new oil or gas fields. They can be used in agriculture, to monitor crop performance during the growing season and then farm gate prices. Whether this kind of imaging technology will give rise to the sort of privacy issues prompted by Streetview remains to be seen. It will give rise to interesting licensing models."
News of this acquisition was reported just over a week after it was announced that Google is also investing between $1bn and $3bn in a fleet of satellites.


Internet of Things

Bidder: Vodafone, UK
Target: Cobra Automotive Technologies, Italy
Value: £115.73m
Cobra Automotive Technologies specialises in car security, telematics for the insurance and automotive sectors as well as telecommunications.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
The connectivity of devices over the internet is a fast growing area that will offer Vodafone a great source of revenue to counterbalance decreasing revenue due to the downturn in smartphone purchases and reduction in people making calls or sending SMS.  Researchers are predicting that by 2020 90% of all cars will be connected to the internet. Vodafone will integrate Cobra's telecommunications technology with its own to create market leading products.
Why is this deal interesting?
It indicates how the technology ecosystem is changing and how traditional operators are responding by diversifying their business strategy. With the smartphone market reaching a plateau and calls being made less frequently, Vodafone's deal highlights the potential of the Internet of Things which Vodafone will suitably support via its international network.
Munich-based technology law expert Stephan Appt of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said: "Cobra also provides various automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) with integrated connectivity services. Some of those OEMs have virtually outsourced to Cobra operations and end customer responsibilities for their connectivity products, thereby also leaving Cobra to deal with legal challenges around connectivity offerings, for example, certain telecom law regulatory requirements typically applying to mobile network operators (MNOs). From this perspective Vodafone and Cobra appear to be an ideal match as Vodafone naturally already has in place the infrastructure and processes to deal with such regulatory requirements. Cobra will now be able to offer OEMs a full service package deal including MNO telecom services from Vodafone." 

Bidder: Nest Labs, Google Inc., US
Target: Dropcam Inc., US
Value: $555m
Dropcam Inc. produces cameras for the home that can be used as a security device and accessed and controlled via a smartphone or other mobile device. Mobile users are able to view live video stream of the content captured by the camera or share the video with friends and/or the public.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
By adding this product to its growing portfolio of consumer connected devices for the home, Nest Labs is developing its objective to create a platform which will be able to manage an extensive range of connected devices in the home. All of Dropcam's team are transferring to Nest Labs which will provide Nest with increased opportunities to create new connected devices.
"Google continues its foray into the user's home and it does so by buying a company that has a very narrow product offering with only three products," said Thilo Schneider, a merger and acquisitions expert for Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com. "However, this acquisition sits neatly with Nest Labs' own product range and expands the company's number of employees from 130 to 460."
Why is this deal interesting?
It indicates how the large technology companies are entering the consumer connected devices market more and more. While Nest is clearly creating a platform for the home it will be interesting to see whether it extends this platform to other sectors, for example, automotives and mHealth. There will be concern amongst privacy groups similar to when Google acquired Nest in January about how the data collected from the device will be used. Co-founder of Nest, Matt Rogers blogged: "Dropcam will come under Nest’s privacy policy, which explains that data won’t be shared with anyone (including Google) without a customer’s permission". The deal requires regulatory approval.
Munich-based technology law expert Stephan Appt of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com said: "Competing mobile network operators, chip makers, operating system developers, IT service providers and the like all want a piece of what is one of the hottest topic of today’s connected world: 'Connectivity'. With the acquisition of Nest, Dropcam and Google’s launch of the Open Automotive Alliance (with the intention of putting Android in cars) Google, not surprisingly, is once again a prominent player at the forefront of a trend, with the ambition to connect mobile devices, homes and infrastructure and establish a connected ecosystem around its customers. Clearly, the more this ecosystem develops the more powerful big data tools will get, putting the spotlight even brighter on associated legal challenges, particularly on data ownership and privacy." 


 

June

This month's deals highlight how businesses are responding to and operating in an increasingly digital landscape. A number of deals, including acquisitions by Facebook, Alibaba and Dropbox, demonstrate the diverse aspects of mobile computing and indicate how the large technology companies want to acquire additional facets of this prevalent market to enhance their digital strategies.

June witnessed how disruptive new technology can be with the London launch of taxi app Uber, which is now valued at $18 billion. Transport for London (TfL) announced that it is seeking a High Court ruling on whether the method Uber uses to provide customers with a price complies with legislation that only allows black cabs to have a meter. TfL considers that it is compliant but wants certainty. In protest at Uber's arrival London's black cabbies created their own disruption, supported by taxi drivers across Europe, by creating traffic congestion in central London and other European cities. 

The strategies of chip producers Broadcom and MediaTek highlight how developments in technology can be approached differently by businesses in a similar field. Broadcom has announced that it is considering winding down or divesting a section of its business which produces chips for the smartphone market due to reduced sales of smartphones in the West. Conversely, MediaTek is actively diverging into the Internet of Things home sector and wearables market.

Apple and Google at their annual conferences this month both demonstrated their vision for integrating the Internet of Things into their respective businesses. In alignment with this approach Google's Nest has purchased Dropcam this month. Vodafone's acquisition of Cobra Automotive Technologies signifies diversification as well as the increasing trend of the connected car

The advancement in new technology that connects and creates an assortment of data will continue to challenge data protection and privacy regulations. Google's purchase of SkyBox, Nest's of Dropcam and Vodafone's of Cobra Automotive will all provide the acquiring company with a continuous stream of big data. Analytics involving targeted advertising and businesses providing video content continue to be popular areas of acquisitions.

Mobile Data

Bidder: Facebook, US
Target: Pryte, Finland
Value: Undisclosed
Today's smartphones are used more for accessing data including apps and decreasingly to make calls. Pryte's technology allows users to purchase bundles of mobile data with one click in order to access apps without the need to purchase a traditional price plan from a telco.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Facebook is keen to connect new internet users in emerging markets across the globe whose first experience of the internet will likely be via mobile rather than desktop computers or laptops.  This acquisition will assist Facebook in its strategy to obtain its next billion followers by offering users affordable connectivity to its content besides its objective to have a dominant presence on a user's smartphone screen. 
Why is the deal interesting?
This technology is a disruptor that has the potential to alter how users connect to the internet without the need of a network provider. It may change the telco landscape in the same way as 'over the top' messaging apps have dramatically reduced telcos' revenue from SMS. The acquisition shows how the large technology companies are committed to connecting users across the globe where there is little connection at present.
Facebook and Google are both heavily involved with Internet.org, a global partnership with an objective to connect the two thirds of today's population that does not have internet access.


Mobile

Bidder: Alibaba, China
Target: UCWeb, China
Value: Undisclosed
UCWeb is a mobile web browser with leading technology and a strong market position.  Research indicates that 65% of smartphone owners in China use UCWeb's mobile browser. It has an extremely dominant presence in India too where it was the top mobile browser in 2013.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Alibaba's purchase of the remaining 34% of UCWeb it did not already own will strengthen and enhance its mobile strategy. UCWeb's dominance in India may also assist Alibaba's international expansion outside of China in other emerging markets.
Why is the deal interesting?
The integration of UCWeb into Alibaba will largely negate any further comment about Alibaba's "weak" mobile position compared to its main rivals Tencent and Baidu. This purchase is a clear sign to Alibaba's competitors that it will continue to challenge its rivals' more established mobile market share. The fusion of UCWeb and Alibaba businesses with the investment money Alibaba has will allow UCWeb's former employees to develop innovative mobile solutions and technology to support Alibaba's media strategy. This deal also demonstrates that companies which have a robust market position need to be continuously proactive in order to maintain it.  
Alibaba has also purchased a 50% stake in Evergrande football club this month.  While this may be something of a spontaneous purchase there is certainly a convergence happening between sport and technology which Alibaba could take great advantage of including TV rights, mHealth, big data, wearables and digital advertising.


Cloud

Bidder: Dropbox, US
Target: MobileSpan, US           
Value: Undisclosed
MobileSpan allows employees to use their own devices to log on to their employer's network securely. The network is protected via a firewall.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Dropbox is acquiring MobileSpan's knowledge in security. MobileSpan's technology will be integrated into its Dropbox for Business division.  By bolstering the services it offers Dropbox will become a more dominant player amidst the fierce competition from other businesses offering cloud computing solutions. Dropbox will also benefit from the talent within MobileSpan which includes two founders who were engineers at Google Chrome.
Why is the deal interesting?
This deal indicates how important it is for businesses to take a proactive approach to ensure that the company's data is protected when accessed via an employee's device and to make sure that businesses choose a cloud computing supplier who can provide adequate security. This deal is also an example of how companies make acquisitions in order to grow their portfolio of services and obtain external technology which they need but either do not have the time and/or the internal capabilities to develop themselves.
Dropbox's present strategy clearly includes making business acquisitions to expand its Business and Non Business Services. The company has also acquired Droptalk this month, a messaging service which allows a user while in conversation on screen to simultaneously see if any files are edited or added to a shared folder in the cloud. This feature may be something that Dropbox integrates into its Dropbox for Business portfolio especially as email becomes less popular and other services prove more effective when working with newer technologies. 


MHealth

Bidder: Symphony Technology Group, US        
Target: Healthcare Software Businesses, McKesson Corporation, US
Value: Undisclosed      
McKesson's Healthcare Software Businesses provide leading and innovative technology solutions to customers in the healthcare sector that collate patient's health data and manage a range of patient services across various medical facilities which enable healthcare providers to improve efficiency and reduce costs. The businesses which Symphony Technology Group is acquiring include the UK Health and Social Care enterprise (comprising System C and Liquidlogic) together with software businesses in France and the Netherlands.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Private equity firm Symphony Technology Group (STG) focuses on growing and developing businesses into market leaders. STG has a thorough understanding of the healthcare sector and is keen to strengthen its focus while maintaining its priority on mobile. These acquisitions will enable STG to invest in and create innovative products across its healthcare technology portfolio.
Why is the deal interesting?
While the support of healthcare by technology is one of the latest trends and most expanding areas in technology, the acquisition of healthcare solutions businesses by a private equity company indicates how influential this sector is to enterprises that want to create the most innovative and best value products. STG's customers in the UK will include NHS trusts. STG reports that it is confident it can "help deliver the UK government's vision of integrated digital records and care pathways, crossing health and social care".
“This transaction gives STG an important stake in a healthcare technology sector that is showing rapid growth, in large part driven by the explosion in digital health," Matthew Godfrey-Faussett, a technology law specialist for Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com said. "Payers, service providers and large sections of the patient market all see the digital health innovation as having a major role to play in helping to address the NHS’ burgeoning funding deficit. Clearly STG can see major opportunities for those who help to meet that challenge.”


Software

Bidder: Oracle, US
Target: MICROS Systems, US
Value: $5.3 bn
MICROS Systems provides a range of business solutions for the retail and hospitality sectors including point of sale and cloud services, management software and hardware.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Oracle is confident that this deal will increase its revenue as businesses in the retail and hospitality sectors are not yet using some or all of the digital solutions Oracle offers nor are the sectors maximising the potential of digital. Oracle will assist these sectors to enhance their respective business via the digital solutions it provides including cloud, big data, the Internet of Things, mobile and social solutions. At the same time Oracle will create a specialism for itself in this vertical market. 
Why is the deal interesting?
It indicates that Oracle is looking to grow and strengthen its business via acquisitions with investors predicting that this will be the first of a number of acquisitions Oracle will make this year. The deal demonstrates that Oracle is determined to compete with its more agile competitors in the software market, both internet and cloud based, by making strategic acquisitions.


Analytics

Bidder: Marin Software, US
Target: Perfect Audience, US
Value: $23m
Perfect Audience specialises in retargeting display advertising and users of social network sites.  The company's technology tracks users who have browsed a certain site without making a purchase onto their social networking site where Perfect Audience will place specifically targeted adverts. Perfect Audience has some highly notable clients including Eventbrite and American Apparel.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Perfect Audience's technology provides additional services to what Marin Software presently offers which largely focus on search advertising. Marin Software will ultimately integrate Perfect Audience's technology into its own although for an initial period it will keep Perfect Audience as an independent business. 
Why is the deal interesting?
It indicates how Marin Software is responding to the change in the major source of web advertising revenue in order to keep its business model contemporary and digital approach fresh. Researcher ZenithOptimedia estimates that from 2015 advertising revenue from display ads will exceed search and this will be a continuing trend.

Bidder: Twitter, US
Target: Namo Media, US
Value: Undisclosed
Namo Media assists app developers to include native advertising in the mobile apps they design. The objective of native advertising is to maintain the user experience and be able to blend adverts seamlessly with the content users are viewing to increase the chance that they will click on the advert.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Twitter will integrate Namo Media into its MoPub advertising platform which it bought last year for $350m. It is important for Twitter to generate revenue from advertising as it also continues to consider how to increase its number of users.
Thilo Schneider, a merger and acquisitions expert for Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said: "Twitter is keeping silent on the value of the deal but reports vary between $50-100m. Twitter's share price shows that investors have remained unimpressed with the company's performance so far this year and boosting the company's advertising revenue must be top of its agenda!"
Why is the deal interesting?
The revenue generated from traditional advertising is being overtaken by mobile advertising. Twitter has a unique position as a preferred channel that is used to second screen, which has enabled Twitter to enter exclusive arrangements with television companies producing shows and live events. The ability to use native advertising ought to increase Twitter's revenue further.  Analysts estimate that Twitter's revenue from advertising this year will be in the region of $1 billion; it raised $226m in Q1.
Twitter also announced this month the acquisition of a second target ad company, startup TapCommerce. Reports estimate that Twitter has paid $100 million for the company which it will again integrate into MoPub to expand the use and precision of targeted advertising to users of its mobile app.


Media

Bidder: Samsung, S Korea
Target: Shelby.tv, US
Value: Undisclosed
Shelby.tv curates video content on a user channel from across the internet including YouTube and Vimeo as well as videos shared from users' peers on social media. Once content is established users' viewing preferences are tracked and new content suggested.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
With this acquisition and its previous acquisition of Boxee, Samsung now has both the technology and talent to create a bespoke video platform and enhance the services and products it offers to customers. Both of these companies are extremely innovative and have the potential to create something extremely unique for Samsung.
Why is the deal interesting?
This is another example of the continuing convergence within TMT and demonstrates how Samsung is keen to develop a media platform as it looks to compete with its closest rival Apple beyond mobile devices and brand.


Satellites

Bidder: Google, US
Target: SkyBox Imagining, US  
Value: $500m
SkyBox Imagining is a satellite company which has a satellite launched 185 miles above the earth, which provide unique levels of knowledge that can be used for commercial purposes.  For example, the data collected could be used to inform companies when the next iPhone is being released, due to the imaging of vehicles outside factories in the East or enable the retail industry to accurately predict the price of crops according to how they have performed throughout their growing cycle.  
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Google will be able to provide digital maps of an even better quality using Skybox's satellite data. While Skybox has only one satellite at present it is Google's intention to produce more in order to provide internet access to those in remote parts of the world or in countries where the infrastructure is not yet established. The satellite(s) has enormous potential which like many new technologies could prove extremely disruptive. It may provide Google will an alternative revenue stream to its traditional source of revenue from search advertising, by charging customers a licence fee for access to the satellite data.
Why is the deal interesting?
It indicates Google's desire to invest and develop in diverse technology, the capabilities of which it can challenge and test. This deal will require regulatory approval from the Federal Communications Commission as well as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In addition, privacy groups are likely to raise questions about whether the collection of satellite data creates any breach of data protection. It may also enable Google to obtain millions, if not billions, of new users from emerging markets.
Data protection expert Marc Dautlich of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said: "Google’s acquisition of Skybox not only promises to improve existing services like Google Earth and Google Maps, it also provides an opportunity for a new revenue stream for Google: satellite-sourced analytics are valuable in a range of sectors. In energy and insurance, they can provide early warning of natural disasters and drive investment decisions based on discoveries of potential new oil or gas fields. They can be used in agriculture, to monitor crop performance during the growing season and then farm gate prices. Whether this kind of imaging technology will give rise to the sort of privacy issues prompted by Streetview remains to be seen. It will give rise to interesting licensing models."
News of this acquisition was reported just over a week after it was announced that Google is also investing between $1bn and $3bn in a fleet of satellites.


Internet of Things

Bidder: Vodafone, UK
Target: Cobra Automotive Technologies, Italy
Value: £115.73m
Cobra Automotive Technologies specialises in car security, telematics for the insurance and automotive sectors as well as telecommunications.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
The connectivity of devices over the internet is a fast growing area that will offer Vodafone a great source of revenue to counterbalance decreasing revenue due to the downturn in smartphone purchases and reduction in people making calls or sending SMS.  Researchers are predicting that by 2020 90% of all cars will be connected to the internet. Vodafone will integrate Cobra's telecommunications technology with its own to create market leading products.
Why is this deal interesting?
It indicates how the technology ecosystem is changing and how traditional operators are responding by diversifying their business strategy. With the smartphone market reaching a plateau and calls being made less frequently, Vodafone's deal highlights the potential of the Internet of Things which Vodafone will suitably support via its international network.
Munich-based technology law expert Stephan Appt of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said: "Cobra also provides various automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) with integrated connectivity services. Some of those OEMs have virtually outsourced to Cobra operations and end customer responsibilities for their connectivity products, thereby also leaving Cobra to deal with legal challenges around connectivity offerings, for example, certain telecom law regulatory requirements typically applying to mobile network operators (MNOs). From this perspective Vodafone and Cobra appear to be an ideal match as Vodafone naturally already has in place the infrastructure and processes to deal with such regulatory requirements. Cobra will now be able to offer OEMs a full service package deal including MNO telecom services from Vodafone." 

Bidder: Nest Labs, Google Inc., US
Target: Dropcam Inc., US
Value: $555m
Dropcam Inc. produces cameras for the home that can be used as a security device and accessed and controlled via a smartphone or other mobile device. Mobile users are able to view live video stream of the content captured by the camera or share the video with friends and/or the public.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
By adding this product to its growing portfolio of consumer connected devices for the home, Nest Labs is developing its objective to create a platform which will be able to manage an extensive range of connected devices in the home. All of Dropcam's team are transferring to Nest Labs which will provide Nest with increased opportunities to create new connected devices.
"Google continues its foray into the user's home and it does so by buying a company that has a very narrow product offering with only three products," said Thilo Schneider, a merger and acquisitions expert for Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com. "However, this acquisition sits neatly with Nest Labs' own product range and expands the company's number of employees from 130 to 460."
Why is this deal interesting?
It indicates how the large technology companies are entering the consumer connected devices market more and more. While Nest is clearly creating a platform for the home it will be interesting to see whether it extends this platform to other sectors, for example, automotives and mHealth. There will be concern amongst privacy groups similar to when Google acquired Nest in January about how the data collected from the device will be used. Co-founder of Nest, Matt Rogers blogged: "Dropcam will come under Nest’s privacy policy, which explains that data won’t be shared with anyone (including Google) without a customer’s permission". The deal requires regulatory approval.
Munich-based technology law expert Stephan Appt of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com said: "Competing mobile network operators, chip makers, operating system developers, IT service providers and the like all want a piece of what is one of the hottest topic of today’s connected world: 'Connectivity'. With the acquisition of Nest, Dropcam and Google’s launch of the Open Automotive Alliance (with the intention of putting Android in cars) Google, not surprisingly, is once again a prominent player at the forefront of a trend, with the ambition to connect mobile devices, homes and infrastructure and establish a connected ecosystem around its customers. Clearly, the more this ecosystem develops the more powerful big data tools will get, putting the spotlight even brighter on associated legal challenges, particularly on data ownership and privacy." 


May

In May we saw several deals by which businesses sought to better position themselves to take advantage of the 'internet of things' (IoT). As the number of connected devices increases exponentially, with Cisco estimating 50 billion connected devices by 2020, a number of businesses have sought to realise its value added benefit and wide applicability in commercial contexts. The £3.7bn merger of Dixons and Carphone Warehouse highlighted the growing influence of IoT in consumer markets. Carphone Warehouse's co founder, Charles Dunstone, said that the merged company will position itself as a “new retailer of the digital age”.

As in previous months, technology companies strengthened their portfolio of 'digital' services with a number of analytics and cloud deals taking place. Competition between the large tech companies continued – both Google and Microsoft purchased distinct cloud providers in an effort to grow their brands and differentiate their services. The leading cloud providers also faced competition from European providers, as Atos acquired Bull, strengthening the case for 'regional clouds' and keeping data in Europe.

The media landscape continues to reshape itself, and after weeks of rumours Apple confirmed its $3bn purchase of Beats Electronics shifting its emphasis from music downloads to online streaming. AT&T's acquisition of DirecTV highlighted a continuing trend of convergence between the telecoms and media content sectors. Surprisingly, the disclosed purchase price of $48.5bn, was higher than that of Comcast's price for Time Warner Cable, for what is essentially a satellite company, although one with 20 million existing customers.

Tech markets in May were also not only concerned with "core" tech deals themselves but with the products in which technology is incorporated. Volkswagen took control of Scania which it intends to merge with its own commercial vehicles' business and MAN to create Europe's biggest truck manufacturer. An influencing factor of VW's lengthy pursuit of Scania was its leading technology which previously had been unavailable to both VW and MAN.

Media/audio hardware

Bidder:Apple, US
Target: Beats Electronics, US
Value: $3 billion
Beats Electronics, co founded by hip hop artist Dr Dre and music executive Jimmy Iovine, produces headphones and speakers and offers a music streaming service that presently has 250,000 subscribers.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Apple will acquire the experienced industry music talent of both Jimmy Iovine and Dr Dre. Beats is a leading headphones brand and its image fits in with Apple's recent hiring of former Burberry CEO Angela Adrendts. Iovine's extensive knowledge of music streaming will enable Apple to develop a much wanted service to rival its competitors.
Why is the deal interesting?
Purchasing hardware externally as opposed to developing it internally is a significant departure to Apple's strategy under Steve Jobs. Apple's iTunes music download platform was launched in 2003, yet given rapid changes in technology, music streaming and subscriptions is now clearly considered key to the future of music distribution. Beats streaming service will continue to be available for Android users and not solely on Apple's iOS. The deal marks a change in strategy in how Apple innovates.


Internet of things

Bidder: General Electric, US
Target: Wurldtech, Canada
Value: Undisclosed
Wurldtech is a cyber security company that specialises in maintaining security at large scale industrial sites, such as power plants and oil refineries.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Today's industrial sites are increasingly being built using connected technology including sensor networks, which need to be protected from cyber attacks. Using Wurldtech's technology GE will be able to better identify security weaknesses in its systems and establish its own security solutions.
Why is the deal interesting?
Businesses are now carefully evaluating the impact IoT will have. Industry is reacting to the importance of the IoT which has much greater relevance than simply connected consumer devices. With industrial operations becoming ever more dependent on technology, industry needs to implement appropriate security measures to ensure the continuity of services in an ever-increasingly connected environment.

Bidder: LogMeIn, US
Target: Ionia Corporation, US
Value: £12 million
Ionia Corporation is a software company specialising in the IoT that allows businesses, largely in the pharmaceutical, life sciences and manufacturing sectors, to integrate connected devices with other software solutions, for example, those relating to logistics, sales or planning. It offers approximately 300 cloud based solutions and is a Salesforce.com partner.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
LogMeIn's strategy is focused on the IoT. It will integrate Ionia with its existing IoT platform, Xively, to enhance the IoT solutions it can offer to clients who are looking to benefit from utilising such platforms to boost and improve commercial operations.
Why is the deal interesting?
The IoT is demonstrating what it can offer on a commercial scale. As the types of connected devices grow exponentially, businesses are realising the value that IoT platforms offer and the increasing need to incorporate technology into their infrastructure to enable machines, data and employees to integrate seamlessly.

Bidder: Fujitsu, UK
Target: GlobeRanger, US
Value: Estimated between $20 - $30 million
GlobeRanger is an innovative radio frequency identification (RFID) solutions and software company that has created a platform to analyse data that is at the periphery of a company's operations and which has historically been beyond the traditional IT infrastructure. GlobeRanger's platform supports sensor-based, mobile and RFID solutions and its technology is increasingly able to integrate and deliver data in real time.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
The US Defense Logistics Agency is a client of GlobeRanger and Fujitsu will be able to use GlobeRanger's technology to support its own Global Defence Initiative. Fujitsu's use of RFID is wide ranging, as highlighted in its announcement this month that it has won the RFID Integrated Label Project from Airbus. Fujitsu will be able to support clients in maximising opportunities provided by the IoT. Rob McCallough, a technology disputes and IT project management expert for Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law said that "This is an important acquisition for Fujitsu and although it will enhance Fujitsu's global defence initiative GlobeRanger may play a key role in other sectors".
Why is the deal interesting?
This deal, as with Zebra Technologies' acquisition of Motorola Solutions Enterprise Unit, which we highlighted last month, is the second high profile acquisition in as many months of RFID technology. The use of RFID is growing across a wide range of sectors and is set to expand further as connectivity between people, commodities, data and machines becomes ever more prevalent. IDTechEx's report RFID Forecasts, Players and Opportunities 2014-2024 estimates that the RFID market in 2014 is worth $9.2 billion and will increase to $30.24 billion by 2024.


Analytics

Bidder: AOL, US
Target: Convertro, US
Value: $101 million
Convertro's analytic technology seeks to determine which adverts produce the most consumer purchases via different advertising mediums and formats, for example, via an online banner or video as compared to television ads. Convertro's clients include Comcast, SurveyMonkey, The Economist and beats (pre Apple acquisition).
How does it benefit the acquirer?
AOL will be able to offer advertisers the opportunity to produce more targeted and individualised marketing campaigns to influence potential customers. This is the third advertising company AOL has purchased over the last 9 months after Gravity and Adap.tv. AOL intends to integrate the combined technology of the three companies to create an extremely competitive advertising platform.
Why is the deal interesting?
This deal indicates how companies want to increase the efficiencies they offer to advertising and marketing clients. With advertisers increasing how much they spend on online advertising compared to more traditional methods, as reported by eMarketer, it is imperative that companies provide advertisers with the latest technology methods to enable them to obtain the highest return on their advertising spend.
Google, who is one of AOL's main competitors, has strengthened its own analytics and advertising services further this month with the purchase of Adometry, which has the added ability to prevent online fraud. This element of Adometry's business will complement Google's acquisition of Spider.io in February 2014.

Bidder: Google, US
Target: Rangespan, UK
Value: Undisclosed
Rangespan supports online retailers to determine which products to sell or discontinue selling using real time data. Rangespan is used to working with large companies whose clients have included Asda, Tesco and Argos.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
It will assist Google with its drive to establish its retail ecommerce business Google Shopping, which allows customers to locate products from both online and high street retailers. By integrating Rangespan into its existing platform Google Shopping will be able to provide retailers with analytical data to control and plan their supplies.
Why is the deal interesting?
Google continues its interest in providing a diversified range of technology products and services. The deal is also a possible acqui-hire too. While it is unclear which of Rangespan's employees besides co founder Ryan Regan will move to Google, Regan himself previously worked at Amazon and at Last.fm where he was chief digital officer.


Cloud

Bidder: Google, US
Target: Stackdriver, US
Value: Undisclosed
Stackdriver is a cloud monitoring service which enables users to watch how their cloud applications and other software services are performing as well as providing specific data on how the apps and software are using cloud. Any problems that are identified can be resolved, in the first instance, via Stackdriver's automated devops. Stackdriver's technology has been used for monitoring Amazon Web Services.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Google will integrate Stackdriver's technology into its own cloud platform to enhance its capabilities and provide a more consolidated cloud business.
Why is the deal interesting?
This deal demonstrates that Google is now looking to differentiate its cloud solutions in an increasingly competitive and crowded market. Google has indicated that it will continue to allow Amazon Web Services to use Stackdriver's services. This will allow users to compare the services between the two giant providers. It may not however, be a permanent arrangement.

Bidder: Microsoft, US
Target: GreenButton, New Zealand
Value: Undisclosed
GreenButton offers a specialised 'platform as a service' which lets customers run intensive computer software services in the cloud without the need for the existing software to be recoded.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Microsoft will integrate GreenButton's technology into Azure, its cloud platform, to enable users with large scale workloads to use the cloud efficiently and increase their level of cloud capacity when needed.
Why is the deal interesting?
Microsoft is looking to refocus its business with its present strategy "mobile first, cloud first" as the domination of Windows and use of personal computers decline. GreenButton's services will no longer be available to new customers although existing customers which also includes Amazon Web Services will still have access to GreenButton's technology. Microsoft however, has not confirmed for how long GreenButton will be available to existing customers.

Bidder: Atos, France
Target: Bull, France
Value: €620 million
Bull specialises in high performance computing and provides cloud, cybersecurity and datacentre services.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Atos will be able to expand its expertise in high performance computing, cloud, analytics and cybersecurity. On completion of the deal Atos proposes to create a cybersecurity and big data specialist via the Bull label.
Why is the deal interesting?
Atos, once this deal is completed, will reportedly become the largest cloud computing provider in Europe by revenue and the second fastest growing company in the sector behind Amazon. With some companies still hesitant to transfer to the cloud due to perceived security risks Atos will have the added capability of sophisticated cyber security systems. European entities are equally challenging the leading provider, Amazon, and bolstering their product suite in order to compete.


Media

Bidder: AT&T, US
Target: DirecTV, US
Value: $48.5 billion
DirecTV is the US's largest satellite pay TV provider with 20 million customers. It has partnership agreements with a number of telephone and Internet providers to offer customers competitive media packages that include TV, phone and broadband.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
AT&T has focused its attention on the US market after Comcast's acquisition of Time Warner Cable. AT&T's customer base, combined with DirecTV's, will be 25 million, which is not too disparate to Comcast's 30 million, subject to the regulators approving its deal with TWC. It will be able to offer customers a variety of services across a range of bundles and increase the video content it offers via satellite and broadband. AT&T will also gain a ready market in South America where DirecTV has a satellite customer base of 18 million that is still increasing.
Why is the deal interesting?
Comcast's acquisition of TWC appears to have influenced AT&T completing this deal. While AT&T has enhanced its opportunities in the media bundles market and created a position for itself to compete with Comcast, subject to regulators approving both deals, in contrast, Dish that was DirecTV's main satellite competitor is left wondering how it will continue to operate its business. The amount AT&T has spent on this deal is extremely interesting, especially given that it is $3 billion more than what Comcast paid for TWC as demand for satellite TV in the US declines. AT&T will however be acquiring a large customer base from DirecTV and will be able to provide digital services to that customer base as and when they become available. 


Apps

Bidder: Yahoo, US
Target: Blink, US
Value: UndiscloseD
Blink allows users to send messages, videos and pictures to friends which can be viewed by the recipient for a predetermined length of time before the message is automatically deleted, a service often compared to Snapchat.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Yahoo will use this acquisition to bolster its mobile service offerings. Blink's team of seven will all be moving across to Yahoo, two of whom are former Google employees.
Why is the deal interesting?
Messaging apps which have the ability to delete messages shortly after content has been viewed are extremely popular and offer some benefits in terms of user privacy. This deal indicates the continuing shift of users to mobile devices and the need for operators to provide relevant applications. Blink's team has a depth of talent and this deal is a further example of an acqui-hire, a purchase of talented people, rather than simply technology.
Employment law specialist Jenny Wilson of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com said that "Acqui-hires are becoming increasingly popular in the technology sector and large corporates are recognising that this is a way of acquiring the specialist skills of innovators in start-up companies without the hurdle of persuading them to leave their organisation and their teams behind". She also said that "Adopting an effective retention strategy and striking the right balance between independent working and collaboration are key to ensuring the success of such arrangements".
The continuing interest in these self deleting mobile messaging services is underlined by reports that Facebook is developing its own video messaging app codenamed "Slingshot". After Snapchat reportedly snubbed Facebook's offer for $3 billion, Facebook created and launched rival service Poke although this was removed from Facebook's site earlier this month. Facebook's decision demonstrates that at times it may be preferable to invest and develop technology where it is not available for purchase.

Bidder: Google, US
Target: Divide, US
Value: Undisclosed
Divide allows smartphone users to keep personal data apart from work data on their mobile device. Whilst users are able to download the software they wish employers can remotely delete corporate data if a device is lost. At present the Divide application can be used on both Android and Apple devices.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
With the increased popularity of bring your own device (BYOD), companies are allowing employees to use their own devices, but remain concerned about corporate data being compromised especially in situations where devices are lost. With this application Google will be able to encourage businesses to adopt its Android system and this software, which is specifically designed for the business market.
Why is the deal interesting?
This deal is another example of companies purchasing tech to enhance their own services which equally have a negative impact on their competitors. For example, if Google no longer allows Apple to use this product the use of Apple's hardware products may decline. The reason this software is so appealing to companies is due to the level of security it offers, which is of paramount importance to employers given the ubiquitous nature of BYOD. Not so many years ago Blackberry was the dominant device for employees. Blackberry's decline demonstrates how businesses can quickly rise and fall if they do not have the "must have" products and services.


Telecoms

Merger: Kakao Corp and Daum Communications, South Korea
Kakao Corp provides the popular South Korean messaging app, Kakao Talk and in Asia has roughly 145 million users. Daum Communications is an internet portal company.
Why does this merger benefit the companies?
This merger will allow the formed company to compete against South Korea's dominant internet provider Naver that owns messaging app Line which has, in comparison, 450 million users. The merged company will also have the opportunity to expand overseas.
Why is the merger interesting?
As users increasingly turn to mobile devices, website operators and social media sites are keen to have access to an over the top messaging app which provides instantaneous communication between users. Such is the growth and domination of some of the earlier launched services that companies who were not involved in those services at the start have paid enormous amounts of money to become involved, for example Facebook's acquisition of WhatsApp, or are merging resources in order to be able to compete in the existing market. Interestingly China's TenCent that owns over the top messaging app WeChat (which has over 355 million users) has a 14% stake in Kakao.


Gaming

Bidder: Google, US
Target: Twitch, US
Value: $1 billion
There have been unconfirmed reports that Google's YouTube is in discussions to buy Twitch for $1 billion. Twitch allows gamers to live stream their performance for others to watch. It is becoming an extremely popular pastime and trend in gaming. Twitch itself has 45 million users and accounts for 1.35% of internet traffic in N America during peak hours, which is more than HBO's Go at 1.24%.
How would any bid benefit the acquirer?
Google would gain a firm foothold into the expanding gaming market besides picking up a great number of younger users, the largest demographic group of those watching, together with their data. Twitch also offers enormous potential for Google to create a vast source of revenue from advertising via the site.
Why would this deal be interesting?
Live streaming and sharing is a big trend in gaming and if Google completes this acquisition it would further broaden and strengthen what it offers to consumers while keeping its brand contemporary. As Facebook's acquisition of Oculus Rift in March indicates gaming is an important area for the large social media and internet service providers.


April

While there has been a lot of discussion in recent weeks about the implications of falling tech stock prices, slightly buoyed by Facebook and Apple's latest quarterly results, April has continued to see a cross section of acquisitions. Twitter for one has been busy, acquiring four companies, several of which involve analytics. Altice confirmed its purchase of SFR, Vivendi for €17 billion, which the French regulators will inevitably review closely. Alibaba has invested $1.05 billion in a 20% stake in China's media and entertainment firm Wasu Media Holding Company and a further $1.2 billion in China's video site, Youku Tudou.

Growth and diversification are two major themes in this month's deals underlined by the closing of Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia's handset business. The ability to communicate with consumers in real time is also another clear emerging trend.

While not an acquisition, it is also worth noting the growing value of tech start-up investments taking place all over the globe. In Germany, for example, Berlin based online food ordering start-up Delivery Hero collected another $85 million, after having secured $88 million in January. That is no mean feat and shows just how much hope investors put into online food delivery services, as also illustrated by competitor Just Eat's initial public offering price of 260 pence a share and market capitalisation of about £1.5 billion ($2.5 billion).

According to Eike Fietz for Pinsent Masons' Munich office, the law firm behind Out-Law.com: "Online food delivery is a business which has low market entry thresholds. It is all about branding and scale. While some of the markets like the UK and Germany are already relatively crowded and consolidation seems to be a logical next step, these fundraisings at what seem to be high valuations would indicate that M&A activity is still some way ahead".

"Larger players will more likely try to continue growing organically and wait to see smaller competitors fail to pick up the pieces," he added.   

The deals we have selected this month reflect the impact and continuing influence of social media for both businesses and consumers and indicate how intense competition is amongst the largest technology companies, each striving to differentiate themselves.

Cloud

Bidder: Dropbox, US
Target: Loom, US
Value: Undisclosed
Loom provides both cloud photo storage and a sync service allowing users to transfer their photos from their mobile devices, especially smartphones, as well as their desktop/laptop and organise them into files.  Stored photos can be accessed and shared via a user’s mobile device from Loom which saves a user valuable storage space on their device. 
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Dropbox will be able to integrate Loom's technology into Carousel, its own application for sharing and managing photos, just launched.  With Loom's seven employees Dropbox will look to design better features for users of this application.
According to Thilo Schneider, a merger and acquisitions expert for Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, "With the acquisition of Loom, Dropbox continues its shopping spree - it is its fourth M&A deal in 2014. With this deal we are reminded of Snapjoy which Dropbox acquired in December 2012 and which it closed six months later amidst some criticism that it left users with only a month to find a new home for their photos."
"Hopefully, Loom will be a happier experience," he added. 
Why is the deal interesting?
This deal shows how large tech companies are absorbing smaller enterprises into their own to benefit from both the company's technology and talent.  In addition, it reveals how companies need to continue to evolve to maintain a competitive position.  Dropbox, once a leader in storage for user’s personal data is now facing a lot of competition from iCloud, Microsoft’s Skydrive and Evernote besides Google Drive.
"In order to be able to use fully the talent and technology of the target in this type of deal, careful due diligence needs to be done and the deal framed such that the acquirer has the rights needed to use the valuable know-how and intellectual property of the target business.
"These aspects of DropBox’s offering will come under more intense scrutiny as it moves into the B2B market - its business customers are likely to look for more far reaching protections from claims for infringement of intellectual property rights," Clare Murray, a technology disputes and renegotiation expert for Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com said.


Analytics

Bidder: Dunnhumby (Tesco subsidiary), UK
Target: Sociomantic Labs, Germany
Value:Undisclosed
Sociomantic Labs provides targeted advertising to over 700 million consumers, on whom it has detailed profiles. 
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Dunnhumby, the analytics company behind Tesco's Clubcard scheme, will be able to connect its own data with Sociomantic's data and technology to engage with customers in real time via targeted advertising.  Besides Tesco, Dunnhumby works with a number of leading brands including Coca-Cola, Diageo and GlaxoSmithKline across 70 countries and it will be able to use this technology with all its clients.
Why is the deal interesting?
This deal shows how companies are continuing to innovate in today's digital market.  Dunnhumby, the front runner of big data projects from the outset, will show with this acquisition how the latest technology can be used in conjunction with big data initiatives to engage with customers in real time whilst they shop, whether that be online or in store. 

Bidder: Twitter, US
Target: SecondSync, UK
Value: Undisclosed
SecondSync's software calculates the impact broadcasters and advertisers have on TV audiences by analysing social media.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Twitter is positioning itself as a market leader in "second screening", i.e. where people simultaneously watch TV whilst commenting upon it, and has the advantage of being able to distribute posts in real time. This acquisition confirms Twitter's dominance in this field and will allow Twitter to provide data to advertisers beyond America.  Twitter has also acquired Mesagraph this month, a French company that does similar work to SecondSync.
Why is the deal interesting?
At the beginning of 2014 SecondSync formed a partnership with Facebook and conducted a study on TV chat data.  This deal will prevent Facebook doing any further work with SecondSync and will consolidate Twitter's lead in this area.  Furthermore, this deal shows the power of social media and its prominence in society today.  Whilst this acquisition focuses on TV, Twitter's real time posts can have a significant impact and influence across a range of business sectors. 

Bidder: Twitter, US
Target: Gnip, US
Value: Undisclosed
Gnip resells data to a variety of established clients across industry sectors and is one of only four companies with direct access to Twitter’s complete stream of tweets, known as the “firehose”. 
How does it benefit the acquirer?
By acquiring Gnip Twitter will have the potential to increase the revenue it receives from data, which at present is approximately one tenth of its total revenue.  Twitter also considers that the combined talent and technology of the companies will provide more refined data and improved data sets.
Why is the deal interesting?
This deal demonstrates Twitter's flexibility to alter its strategy to capitalise on tech trends.  When Twitter launched in 2006 big data and its potential value was not high, if at all, on its agenda yet now the company is keen to see how it can innovate and grow its revenue in this area.  Twitter's acquisition has reportedly been prompted by Apple's purchase of Topsy last December which also has access to the firehose.  This is also a further example of an acqui-hire, a purchase of talented people rather than simply technology.


Software

Bidder: GTCR, US (Private equity firm)
Target: Vocus, US
Value: $446.5 million
Vocus produces cloud based software for public relations and marketing companies and assists them in attracting clients and increasing their effectiveness. Vocus states that it has over 16,000 annual subscribers to its software across a range of sectors.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
GTCR will use this acquisition to develop Vocus' business and enable it to reach its full potential. GTCR will assist Vocus, renowned for inventing original software that its customers have used to great success, to maintain its position in today's fast moving technological environment.
Why is the deal interesting?
This deal highlights that to maintain a leading market position businesses must focus on growth. GTCR's specialist areas of interest include Information Services and Technology as well as Growth Business Services. Its objective is to grow and develop market leaders. As a private equity firm GTCR clearly sees a strong opportunity in Vocus.  Whilst many companies now prefer to use a complete marketing suite via Software as a Service, Vocus continues to offer individual software packages although this may be an area for transition under GTRC.   

Bidder: Capita, UK
Target: AMT-Sybex, UK
Value: Up to £105 million
Proprietary software company AMT-Sybex supplies mobile technology software and smart data management to transport and utility businesses.  AMT’s latest technology allows data to be captured from smart meters which informs customers how much energy they are using.  The meters, which are championed by the UK Government, can communicate directly with energy suppliers. 
How does it benefit the acquirer?
This deal will allow Capita to utilise AMT's technology to enhance its business with its clients in transport and energy that include TfL, Network Rail, National Grid as well as four of the main six energy companies.  In addition Capita will be able to integrate the technology into other sectors it supports, for example, financial services and health. 
Why is the deal interesting?
With rising energy prices and finite resources, governments and customers are conscious of cost and use.  Capita's utility clients need accurate data which AMT's technology will provide.  It also shows how technology designed with specific industry sectors in mind can be adapted and rolled out to enhance other areas of a company's business.  In addition, it is a further illustration of the growth of and emphasis on mobile.


Telecoms

Bidder: Vodafone
Target: Primal Enterprises 11% stake in Vodafone India Limited
Value: $1.48 billion
Primal Enterprises held the last outstanding outsider stake in Vodafone India Limited.  On completion of this deal Vodafone will have complete control of an Indian wireless provider, a unique position in India for a foreign operator.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
With full control of Vodafone India Limited, Vodafone will be able to focus on and invest in India's rapidly growing mobile market.  Vodafone in February 2014 committed to spending 196 billion rupees (roughly £1.92 billion) on India's 4G spectrum.
Why is the deal interesting?
India's mobile market is experiencing a huge growth which global companies can penetrate and influence.  The potential to generate a good return is attractive and extremely possible given industry estimates that ownership of smartphones in India will double this year to 364 million.  With a population of 1.2 billion and growing, there is potential for continuing growth in India's mobile market for some time.  With users accessing the internet directly from their phones data usage is in great demand.


The internet of things

Bidder: iControl Networks, US
Target: Blacksumac, Canada
Value: Undisclosed
Blacksumac produces the Piper automated device, a home security unit with a camera that operates at 180 degrees and provides motion, temperature and humidity sensors which are all controlled via WiFi. 
How does it benefit the acquirer?
The number of connected devices which iControl Networks offers will expand and the company will enter new markets.  Presently iControl provides a platform for other companies to use to manage home security and other home services, for example, ADT, Comcast and Time Warner Cable.  In contrast, iControl will sell Piper direct to customers and may expand into markets oversees including Europe and Asia.
Why is the deal interesting?
This deal shows how companies are altering their business models to maintain pace with competitors and the big technology companies.  As seen with Google's purchase of Nest, the connected devices in the home market has the potential to be an area of enormous growth.  Piper as well as being WiFi enabled can equally connect to and control other devices in the home via Bluetooth and Z-Waves.  The Piper device gives iControl an excellent entrance into the Internet of Things domain.

Bidder: Zebra Technologies
Target: Motorola Solutions Enterprise Unit
Value: $3.5 billion
Motorola Solutions enterprise unit supplies thousands of shops worldwide with barcode scanners and companies with heavy duty mobile devices for their staff.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Both of these companies which are leaders within their own respective fields have worked together for a number of years.  Zebra Technologies specialises in inventory tracking technology and produces barcodes and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification).  Zebra's business will be enhanced and complemented by this acquisition which brings together the ability to track and scan goods. 
Why is the deal interesting?
The deal shows the emerging market of the Internet of Things and how the supply and transportation of goods is benefitting from developments in technology.  With the expanding number of mobile workers there is increasing demand for employers and employees to have real time data to hand about products.  This deal will combine leading technology to assist this need.


Apps

Bidder: Twitter, US
Target: Cover, US
Value: Undisclosed
Cover suggests six apps for an Android user's smartphone screen using their smartphone's sensors to predict which Android apps they will want to operate most at a particular time of the day dependent on their location and behaviour.  The selected apps therefore vary, for example, when a user is travelling between meetings compared to when they are at home.  Cover's three co-founders have worked for the big tech companies; two for Google and one for Yahoo.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
This acquisition highlights how Twitter is exploring how it can best use the distinct features of Android and how companies, especially those in social media, want to control a user's smartphone screen.  Twitter is at present implementing its redesign across its user base and is keen to retain its level of users.
Why is the deal interesting?
Twitter is exploring Android's capabilities and the potential of smartphones, which Cover's co-founders consider is "untapped".  Whilst this deal may be viewed as Twitter maintaining pace with its competitors it may also be another example of an acqui-hire, with Twitter purchasing the company to acquire the talent behind it as much as the technology itself.


Software - Automated Assistants

Bidder: Apple, US
Target: Novauris Technologies, UK
Value: Undisclosed
Novauris Technologies develops high level performing speech recognition technology.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Apple has shown its highly anticipated CarPlay technology at this month's International Auto Show in New York. It is reported that a reliant offline version of Siri, Apple's automated assistance, is required if CarPlay is to function properly.  Novauris' founders are renowned speech researchers who have developed highly sophisticated speech recognition software and have already made a great deal of input into Siri.  The company and talent within have the ability to enhance Apple's speech recognition automated assistance.
Why is the deal interesting?
This deal is interesting as it demonstrates how the large tech companies want to advance and acquire talent in an unstated manner and unbeknown to their competitors. Apple actually acquired Novauris last year but reports of the deal only started to circulate this month around the time Microsoft announced its launch of Cortana, its own digital assistant.
"The founders of Novauris have a wealth of experience in developing speech recognition software and this deal serves as an example of an acqui-hire – the acquisition of a company in order to gain access to the individuals who made that company a success. Siri may be due for an upgrade!" Thilo Schneider, a merger and acquisitions expert for Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com said.


Hardware

Bidder: Cirrus Logic, US
Target: Wolfson Microelectronics, UK
Value: £278 million
Wolfson Microelectronics, UK which originated from Edinburgh University is a leading supplier of audio microchips that are used in a wide range of consumer and office products. 
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Cirrus is buying a competitor and will be able to supply components to the large mobile device manufacturers including both Apple and Samsung, which are presently supplied by Cirrus and Wolfson respectively.
Why is this deal interesting?
This deal is an example of how companies are focusing on growth to keep abreast of the market as demand for smartphones in emerging markets increases and the potential of 'wearables’ as a market gathers pace. This deal sees another UK company acquired by a US company.


March

March saw a high level of investment and acquisition activity take place with the number of 'technology, media and telecoms' (TMT) deals reportedly reaching its highest level since the pre-financial crisis years.

Most of the attention focussed on major telecoms developments. But China's leading e-commerce players also made significant moves. Market sector convergence and divesture of assets that fail to fit in with core business strategies were major themes, while Just Eat's initial public offering plans celebrate the growing importance of London's Tech City.

Telecoms

Bidder: Vodafone, UK
Target: Ono, Spain
Value: €7.2 billion
Mobile communications provider Vodafone has agreed to buy Spain's Ono for €7.2 billion.  Ono is a broadband and entertainment company that offers its residential customers telephone, TV and internet services.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
This deal will assist Vodafone's strategy to increase its mobile services across Europe. In Spain, Vodafone will be able to offer bundles for a variety of services and will provide residents with lower call rates across the country.
Why is the deal interesting?
This is another example of convergence between the telecoms and media sectors. Traditional telecos are investing in media in order to grow their market share and maintain a competitive edge.

Bidders: Altice through Numericable and Bouygues, France
Target: SFR, Vivendi, France.
Value: Yet to be confirmed.
SFR is a French telecoms company that provides internet, TV, mobile and landline services.  It is being sold by its owner Vivendi as part of a restructure that will see Vivendi concentrate on media and entertainment after the disposal of its telecoms assets. 
How would it benefit the acquirer?
The successful bidder will be able to provide broadband and cable services to SFR's mobile customers and significantly increase market share.   
Why is the deal interesting?
This deal is of high interest to the regulators, as France is Europe's third biggest telecoms market and this deal will reshape the entire landscape. The Europe Commission’s Competition department is already examining Hutchinson 3G UK's acquisition of Telefonica in Ireland and Telefonica Deutschland’s acquisition of E-Plus in Germany both of which concern the reduction of mobile operators within an EU member state from four to three.
The French stock market's regulatory body, the Autorité des marches financiers (AMF) called for more transparency between the four firms involved in discussions for the takeover of SFR.
Diane Mullenex, of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said: "It is very unusual for the AMF to put out a statement like this. Usually the AMF puts out a press release such as this when they believe the rules and regulations are not being abided by. SFR is not a listed company so is under no obligation to disclose any information. But the three actors involved in the takeover talks are all quoted companies, so they are obliged to put information to the market about this."
"AMF has noticed that there have been rumours outside the market and that the government has been aware of information before it has been publicly stated. There is a need to balance the issue of listed companies complying with disclosure of information obligations and the need for confidentiality during such negotiations. Of course, the more confidentiality the better," said Mullenex.
From the disposal point of view, the deal highlights the common strategy of businesses like Vivendi divesting of assets in order to create a core business model. 


Media

Bidder: Alibaba, China
Target: ChinaVision Media Group, Hong Kong listed
Value: $800 million (60% stake)
ChinaVision produces and distributes both film and TV programmes to China, the world’s largest video market with over 400m viewers.  Last year ChinaVision's distribution of the film Journey to the West reportedly grossed $92.5m in its first weekend.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
This acquisition gives Alibaba access to video entertainment services and strengthens its mobile position amidst intense competition from rivals Tencent and Baidu.
Why is this deal interesting?
This is one of a number of significant investments Alibaba has made this month. Together with ChinaVision, Alibaba has also invested in Tango, a free mobile 'over-the-top' messaging services and in Intime, a Chinese mall operator. Alibaba has announced that it is preparing for an initial public offering likely later this year.      
According to Thilo Schneider, a merger and acquisitions expert for Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, "Alibaba has come a long way since it started as a B2B market place and this investment in the entertainment sector shows that its drive to expansion has not yet come to an end".

Bidder: Comcast, US
Target: FreeWheel, US
Value: $320 million
FreeWheel uses data analytics to embed tailored advertising in online videos. The selection of adverts played before and during a video is based on the content shown and device used.  
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Comcast is looking to increase its revenue from online advertising. eMarketer in March reported that global mobile advertising will significantly grow. In the UK in 2014 eMarketer predicts that mobile advertising spend will reach £2.26 billion and will overtake spending on advertising in traditional newspapers which it predicts will fall to £2.06 billion. 
Why is the deal interesting?
This is another example of a leading business acquiring in response to user preferences. In order to further a customer-centric strategy, Comcast has also announced that is will offer its customers a further 18 channels to stream live via its Xfinity TV Go app.


Virtual Reality

Bidder: Facebook, US
Target: Oculus Rift, US
Value: $2 billion
Oculus Rift is developing a virtual reality headset which is at present predominantly being tested and worked on by games developers.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
There is much speculation about why Facebook has entered the hardware market and how it will best use this device to enhance its users' experiences.  
Why is the deal interesting?
The Oculus Rift headset is a prototype and thus its potential is not yet fully realised. Hong Kong based technology specialist Paul Haswell of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said “Oculus Rift is an interesting acquisition for Facebook and raises questions as to where Facebook wishes to be over the next few years. The Oculus Rift VR headset was originally developed, through crowdfunding on Kickstarter in September 2012, to be a virtual reality gaming headset".
"Other companies in the gaming sphere, most notably Sony, have since announced their own virtual reality headsets. Since the Oculus Rift launched, however, its range of possible uses have encompassed not just gaming but communications, training across a range of industries, entertainment and the medical sphere. It’s clear that Facebook sees the technology as a potential game-changer in terms of the communications world, but it’s surprising that it was Facebook who made the purchase rather than a technology company such as Microsoft or Apple, or indeed Google”, he added.
Haswell also noted that Oculus Rift via Kickstarter raised over $2.4m through pledges. "In return for those pledges, funders received prototype headsets, developer kits, or perhaps just posters and t-shirts. Those who pledged, and effectively invested in the company, will not receive anything from the $2bn spent by Facebook. There may be a few Kickstarter funders who feel somewhat aggrieved right now, even though they are legally entitled to nothing”, he added.


Gaming

Bidder: Google, US
Target: Green Throttle Games, US
Value: Undisclosed
Green Throttle Games has developed a controller and games system for Android. 
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Via this deal two of Green Throttle Games co-founders, Matt Crowley and Karl Townsend, will join Google. Industry speculation is that Google will use the acquired technology to either create its own set top box to compete, for example, with Apple TV or enter the games console market.  The day before this acquisition Apple announced that it raised $1bn revenue during 2013 from Apple TV without too much effort.
Why is the deal interesting?
This deal may be an example of another acqui-hire, a purchase to acquire the talent behind the technology just as much as it is to acquire the technology itself.   


Cyber Security

Bidder: Palo Alto Networks, US
Target: Cyvera, Israel
Value: $200 million
Cyvera is said to have developed a unique method to combat unknown 'zero-day attacks', attacks known only the attacker.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Palo Alto will combine Cyvera's technology with its own to enhance its leading security platform to deal with increasing sophisticated cyber attacks.
Why is the deal interesting?
The cyber security market is growing in response to new challenges presented by cyber attacks and the need to assist businesses to meet regulatory requirements and prevent any reputational damaged from a breach of security.    
Reuters' article


Localisation

Bidder: Priceline, US
Target: Qlika, Israel
Value: Undisclosed (industry estimate $15-$20 million).
Qlika's technology allows advertisers to adapt their marketing style according to the location of where the advert will be placed to allow for market, cultural, keyword and demographic differences.  Qlika's technology can be used across a variety of industry sectors.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Priceline.com which provides travel bookings and services will be able to use Qlika's technology to enhance its international business interests, in particular in Asia.  The technology will reduce the amount Priceline spends on search advertising.
Why is the deal interesting?
It represents another step towards introducing accuracy into the tailoring and targeting of marketing messages based on customer demographics.
Techcrunch article


Apps

Bidder: Flipboard, US
Target: Zite, US
Value: $60 million
Zite is an app that aggregates news and allows readers to discover new content via its search engine. 
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Zite's technology, will be integrated with Flipboard. Purchased from CNN, Flipboad will also be able to include CNN’s news into its reader and will work with CNN to sell advertising. 
Why is the deal interesting?
The aggregation services market is dependent upon integrating effective advertising solutions. Flipboard will be hoping that Zite's technology will give it an advantage in this respect.
Reuters' article


Ecommerce

Bidder: Just Eat, UK
Target: Meal2Go, UK
Value: Undisclosed.
Meal2Go offers electronic point of sale (EPoS) technology for the food industry. The technology can accept simultaneous orders, take special orders and is available in several languages.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Just Eat will provide the technology to its takeaway restaurant partners giving them a centralised system that manages all orders whether they are placed online, via telephone or when a customer walks in. Just Eat which now operates in 13 countries and has over 36,000 restaurants signed up, 20,000 of which are in the UK.
Why is the deal interesting?
Providing enhanced services will allow Just Eat to grow and strengthen its position ahead of its announced initial public offering plans. Commenting on these plans Thilo Schneider said that "a suggested valuation of between £700-900m would make it the biggest exit for a company from the 'Tech City' hub and generate a much needed success story for the UK start-up sector."
Tech Crunch article


Wearable tech

Bidder: Intel, US
Target: Basis Science, US
Value: Between $100 - $150 million
Smartwatch maker Basis Science holds approximately 7% of the 'wearable fitness tracker market'.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Intel's portfolio of wearable devices and sensors does not have a similar product to Basis' wearable fitness device.  As interest in 'wearable technology' increases Intel's purchase strengthens its position in a market that is set to become extremely competitive.
Why is the deal interesting?
Intel's entry into the wearables' market with sensors and devices is not as advanced as its rivals at present. It is another example of a leading technology business purchasing technology in order to move in directions with which it is not traditionally associated.  
According to Thilo Schneider of Pinsent Masons, "The 'wearables' market is becoming increasingly competitive where global tech players such as Apple and Samsung will share markets with sports and leisure companies such as Nike and a number of independents such as Jawbone. It will be interesting to see how Intel can fit into the picture".
Tech Crunch


February

Some of this month's deals have the potential to reshape the market landscape of their particular sector – Comcast's acquisition of Time Warner Cable could alter the US's media scene while Facebook's acquisition of WhatsApp presents a future challenge to traditional telecoms. The purchases of WhatsApp and Viber show how vital and influential mobile messaging apps are to today's digital market. Sony and Alcatel’s respective disposals highlight the growing trend in businesses disposing of non-forward focussed technology assets. Deals involving cyber security are also occurring as businesses look to improve their security following a number of high profile hacking attacks. The use and capability of artificial intelligence continues apace.

Media and telecoms

Bidder: Comcast
Target: Time Warner Cable (TWC)
Value: $45.2 billion
US telecommunications company TWC offers home telephone services, cable television and high speed broadband to both residential and domestic customers in 31 US states.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
This acquisition, if permitted by the regulators, will give the combined companies control of almost one third of the US broadband and payment television market. The companies calculate that $1.5 billion will be saved in operating costs.
Why is the deal interesting?
This deal has the potential to change the landscape of pay TV and broadband market in the US. Comcast and TWC, aware of the scrutiny the deal will face from regulators, have already made strategic concessions by offering to dispose of 3 million subscribers and have highlighted how their networks do not overlap and that consumers will not suffer as a result of the cost of future services.
Since the deal was announced Comcast has made an agreement with NetFlix in which NetFlix will pay to guarantee uninterrupted and faster access to its content for Comcast customers.
International telecoms expert Diane Mullenex of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said that "this deal illustrates perfectly the need for operators not only to acquire content at the best price possible but also to deliver such content in the most efficient way to the customers".
"This merger will give a unique competitive edge to TWC, leveraging on the partnership that Comcast has entered with Netflix. It also gives a perspective on how the European market could consolidate as Netflix struggles with regulators to operate in Europe and needs partners to enter the market," she said.


Apps

Bidder: Facebook
Target: WhatsApp
Value: $19 billion
WhatsApp, today's most popular mobile chat app has more than 450 million regular users, increasing at the rate of 1 million a day. It has taken only 5 years to build this user group, over which time WhatsApp has been eroding the SMS market and revenue for traditional telecoms. User figures are expected to reach 1 billion during the next few years.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Facebook is adapting its technology to meet the needs of its 945 million user market and their growing reliance on mobile devices. With this acquisition it also enhances its global market position at a time when new users, particularly in India and Africa are signing on through newly acquired smart devices. Users who are accessing the internet for the first time are overwhelmingly doing so via mobile devices in these regions.
Why is the deal interesting?
Since being sold WhatsApp has announced that it will offer voice calls for free which will further disrupt the telecoms industry. Ovum analysts have calculated that by 2018 mobile operators' revenue will have decreased by about $386 billion. Facebook is keen for mobile operators in the future to offer data plans that include unlimited bundles for accessing internet services such as Facebook and WhatsApp. Facebook is continually assessing its business model in order to maintain its status as a market leader and will adapt accordingly. Amidst the fanfare of this deal Facebook has closed Facebook email as it was largely unused.
This deal and Rakuten's $900 million purchase of Japan's Viber chat app, which also took place this month (see below), show how important mobile messaging services are to gaining control of a smartphone user's screen. Facebook aims to have a series of apps across a user's screen. Focus is now on the Asian Chat Apps' market including South Korea's Kakao, Japanese based LINE and China's WeChat. Outside India and Hong Kong WhatsApp is a marginal player in Asia.
WhatsApp's performance is in stark contrast to Blackberry Messenger, which despite making BBM available outside its own platform last year, still only has 80 million users.
This deal raises the value of deals done so far this year to $50 billion, the highest since the dotcom bubble of 2000. Invariably there will be more deals in coming months. Whilst Apple has been focused on buying back its own shares, chief executive Tim Cook has said that he would spend a significant amount of money for the right company.
It is expected that this deal will close later in 2014, subject to regulatory approval. For further comment see Out-Law article Prices paid in tech deals about more than just the value of the target business, says expert.

Bidder: Alibaba, China
Target: AutoNavi
Value:  $1.6 billion
AutoNavi is China's most successful map app and is one of a small number of companies who have a license to map China. AutoNavi also provides over 20 million specific location points and allows customers to search for cinemas, restaurants and accommodation.
How would this bid benefit the acquirer?
Alibaba's unsolicited bid of $1.6 billion for AutoNavi will strengthen Alibaba's position in providing smartphone and tablet services to China's 618 million and growing internet users. Analysts predict that there will be 500 million smartphones in China by the end of the year.
Despite Alibaba's sites controlling 80% of China's ecommerce it is facing increased competition in the mobile market from Baidu (apps for maps and navigation) and Tencent, the dominant player on smartphone screens via its social messaging platform, WeChat. AutoNavi has about 77 million users, approximately 31% of the Chinese market compared to Baidu's 27%.
Why is this bid interesting?
This bid is a clear example of how mobile is having a significant impact on the market and how companies who do not already have a clear and evolving mobile strategy need to adapt and innovate as a matter of urgency to prevent competitors or new start ups from encroaching on their market share. Regulators, however, can also create difficulties for innovators. This month Beijing and Shanghai have both restricted the use of taxi hailing apps.
AutoNavi is now considering Alibaba’s bid.

Bidder: Rakuten, Japan
Target: Viber, Israel (Cyprus based)
Value: $900 million
Viber, launched in 2011, is an instant messaging service with 100 million monthly users and a total of 280 million registered users across 200 countries. Users can send messages and make calls for free to both mobile devices and desktops. Besides WhatsApp, Viber is the only other messaging app service with a global presence. 
How does it benefit the acquirer?
This acquisition expands the number of digital services Rakuten offers and will assist its ambition to be the world's largest internet services company. Rakuten is also keen on Viber's gaming platform potential. The company's other recent digital acquisitions include ebook service Kobo, Wuaki.tv and Viki (online video platform that provides subtitles in 160 languages) besides its investment in Pinterest.
Why is the deal interesting?
These deals show how prolific and important instant communications are to today's mobile users. 


Artificial intelligence - social media

Bidder: LinkedIn
Target: Bright 
Value: $120 million
Bright applies algorithms to "unlock the power of artificial intelligence and big data" to connect its 7 million users. Both employers and prospective employees use Bright which matches the most suitable candidates to a specific job opportunity on its database of over 2.5 million vacancies.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
LinkedIn will use Bright's technology to improve the relevance of the suggestions it makes to its 277 million users to make the recruitment and search process more efficient. This acquisition will enable LinkedIn to fulfil its aim to expand its remit and offer an employment directory.
Why is the deal interesting?
This deal shows how artificial intelligence and big data are being implemented throughout the marketplace to enhance a user's every day experience. LinkedIn has an ambitious plan to reach out to the entire global workforce, a vision Bright shared as it wanted its technology to be used throughout the global economy.
More than half of LinkedIn's users are based in the US, UK, India and Brazil. However, LinkedIn is now targeting growth in China where it has a unique position compared to Facebook, Twitter and Google because it does not have a direct competitor there, nor is it banned there. LinkedIn's move into China has now started with the implementation of a test version of its Chinese language site.
LinkedIn has also agreed a joint venture with China Broadband Capital and Sequoia China, which will introduce their 140 million Chinese professionals with LinkedIn's present 277 million members (of which 4 million are in China). The test site platform includes China's Twitter style service, Sina Weibo, and has the facility for members to link their WeChat and LinkedIn accounts.


Cyber security

Bidder: Google, US
Target: SlickLogin, Israel 
Value: Undisclosed
Israeli security start up SlickLogin's objective is to offer a secure login process via a two factor authentication login process. Using unique high frequency sounds, undetectable by the human ear but picked up by a smartphone app, SlickLogin's technology sends out a unique signal. Once this signal has been analysed by a user's device, a signal is returned to authenticate a user's identity. The process can be used to sign in to a company's virtual private network, banks or an extensive range of other services. According to SlickLogin's website, all 3 of its founders trained with "IDF (Israel Defence Forces) elite cyber security team".
How does it benefit the acquirer?
SlickLogin only launched a few months ago and has not yet marketed any products. Google, as an early adopter of two factor authentication, is acquiring both SlickLogin's technology and its highly trained founders to enhance the login facilities to its services and make them as secure as possible. Users and operators are extremely concerned about cyber security and the vulnerability of their systems to hackers.
Why is the deal interesting?
This acquisition will enable Google to provide an easy login system in order to ensure authentication. While other companies are increasing the percentage of their IT budget spent on  cyber security Google has acquired a unique technology to maintain its brand security and its user services.
Nok Nok Labs has raised $16.5 million funding this month from three investors including Lenovo. Nok Nok is developing a centralised platform to allow organisations to support a variety of authentication technologies from a single unified structure. With users simultaneously operating across a number of online platforms there needs to be a more modern unified approach to authentication. The FIDO (Fast IDentity Online) Alliance is addressing this problem. Nok Nok and Lenovo are founding members and board members of the FIDO Alliance. Google is also a board member.  

Bidder: Google, US
Target: Spider.io, London 
Value: Undisclosed  
Spider.io is a market leader in fighting fraudulent online advertising. The company identifies scammers who attempt to sabotage online advertising and prevent adverts reaching their intended audience, thus skewing the figures marketers receive about viewers.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Google will begin to use Spider.io’s technology at the earliest opportunity to improve its existing detection systems in its display ads and videos. Spider.io’s seven employees will also be joining Google and will assist in Google’s long term ambition to clean up online advertising in order to give all parties accurate details about the value of digital media and the results it can deliver.
Why is the deal interesting?
Marketers need to be able to determine the power and value of their digital adverts. This is not possible with online advertising fraud especially compared with traditional advertising in newspapers and magazines. To establish digital as the preferred model of advertising for marketers and tackle this pervasive problem across the web, Google will work in collaboration with other industry bodies to eradicate online advertising fraud. 


PC and telecoms services

Bidder: Japan Industrial Partners (backed by Bain Capital and Mizuho Securities) 
Target: Sony - Vaio PCs 
Value: £300 million (estimated)
Sony has sold its Vaio PC business to private equity venture Japan Industrial Partners, which is backed by Mizuho Securities and Bain Capital. This sale will allow Sony to focus on its gaming, imaging and smartphone business. Sony, once a market leader in electronics, is aiming to regain its identity as a leading designer of innovative technology.
Why is this disposal interesting?
This disposal follows a market trend of technology businesses streamlining their business by hiving off more traditional, older technological aspects in order to focus on new digital technologies. As part of its restructure Sony will also spin off its television interest to a separate business.

Bidder:  China Huaxin 
Target: Alcatel-Lucent (Enterprise business)
Value: €268 million
Why is this disposal interesting?
Alcatel has received a binding offer from China Huaxin for its enterprise business that supplies telecoms services to corporations. Alcatel expects to sign and close the deal in the second and third quarters of the year, subject to regulatory approval.
Alcatel is currently implementing its "Shift Plan", which is Alcatel's strategy to refocus the company "as an IP Networking and Ultra-Broadband specialist". This deal is part of Alcatel’s asset disposal objective of €1 billion.
This deal is a further example of a company solely focusing on the elements of its business that remain important to today's digital environment. Technology businesses need to continuously examine their position vis-à-vis the latest technology being used now and expected to be in the near future. Companies which fail to follow this strategy risk falling behind their competitors or losing market share to new disruptors with a future vision.


January

Artificial intelligence

Bidder: Google
Target: DeepMind
Value: $400 million 
What is unique about the technology?
DeepMind, a UK based start up, develops technology to allow computers to copy the human thought process. DeepMind has already incorporated its technology into games, ecommerce and simulations.
Deepmind's co-founder Demis Hassabis is a phenomenal talent: a chess grandmaster at 13, a double first graduate from Cambridge with a PhD in neuroscience and artificial intelligence from University College London (UCL), he is keen to discover how machines can learn and think like humans.  Hassabis and DeepMind's other two co-founders, Shane Legg and Mustafa Suleyman, have reportedly all worked at UCL's Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit whose aim is "to study neural computational theories of perception and action in neural and machine systems". Arguably this talent will aid Google in its ultimate objective for its search engine to be "AI-complete".
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Google has not made any comment on the deal nor why it has acquired DeepMind.  However, the deal has prompted Google to set up an ethics board and this acquisition, besides others it made last year, shows how interested Google is in pursuing the capabilities of artificial intelligence. 
Why is the deal interesting?
There is now a catalyst around artificial intelligence and technology and the extent to which artificial intelligence can be used in society to benefit people as well as how data can be analysed further.  Facebook, which has created an artificial intelligence team, was also interested in acquiring DeepMind. IBM at the beginning of the month announced a $1 billion investment in its Watson computer.


Connected devices – analytics

Bidder: Google
Target: Nest Labs
Value: $3.2 billion
What is unique about the technology?
Besides their artistic appearance Nest Lab's thermostat and smoke alarm products are designed to assist their owner.  The thermostat, manually set a couple of times, will learn the user's routine and then set itself automatically, whilst the smoke alarm will tell you when it requires batteries. Both devices can be remotely controlled by its user's smartphone.
Nest's co-founders, Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers, both previously worked for Apple and have attracted a number of other ex Apple employees to join them at Nest.  There is much surprise that it is Google who has purchased Nest and not Apple.  Both co-founders learnt at Apple that well designed products which combine software and services sell at top prices. This philosophy has been incorporated into their own designs. Nest's products will continue to support both Apple and Android phones.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Again Google has not said how it will use this acquisition.  Nest Labs, which will continue operating under its own name, thinks Google's acquisition will significantly propel its development of products for the home.
Why is the deal interesting?
Google has invested into the internet of things and continues to extend its portfolio beyond the search engine.  This deal underlines the idea that all home devices will one day be online. Equally, the amount of data collection continues at great speed whilst now raising interesting questions about the types of information Google may collect, and how it may want to use it.


Apps

Bidder: Apple
Target: SnappyCam
Value: Undisclosed
What is unique about the technology?
SnappyCam was an App that enabled iPhone 5 cameras to take up to 20 full 8 megapixel shots per minute, which made it more a powerful mobile camera than the market leader.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Apple's model is to acquire companies which it can then incorporate into its existing and new products to enhance their functioning ability.
Why is the deal interesting?
In acquiring SnappyCam, Apple has also hired its founder, John Papandriopoulos who is a great algorithms talent with expertise that goes beyond phone algorithms.  In 2007 he devised an algorithm for his doctorate which cut background noise in copper phone lines, meaning that in theory they could deliver broadband at up to 250 megabits per second.

Bidder: Facebook
Target: Little Eye Labs
Value: $15 million - industry estimate. The actual value is not officially disclosed.
What is unique about the technology?
Little Eye Labs is focused on developing software to improve how applications perform on Google's Android mobile phone operating system.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
More and more Facebook users are accessing the social media site from mobile devices. Facebook is also focusing more on Android devices.
Why interesting?
Facebook argues strongly against its predicted future demise and is actively adapting its technology to its user market. This deal shows the increased interest in India's tech start-ups from the global tech community. 


Analytics

Bidder: BearingPoint
Target: Trinity Home
Value: Undisclosed
What is unique about the technology?
Trinity specialises in providing "operational performance improvement" consultancy software. Trinity is recognised as an industry leader in predictive analytics and management development capabilities.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
It will enable BearingPoint to expand into the UK and Irish market and offer its client base a substantially broader skills set and expertise.
Why is the deal interesting?
The trend of companies to use predictive analytics to benefit their client's businesses continues.


eHealth

Bidder: CompuGroup Medical
Target: Imagine Assistance
Value: Undisclosed
What is unique about the technology?
Under the HelloDoc brand, Imagine Editions and Imagine Assistance support, market and develop software for healthcare providers who are office-based.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
This acquisition means that the number of doctors operating with CGM software products in France doubles to 40,000 and makes CompuGroup Medical the market leader for “Doctors Information Systems” there.  It also allows CompuGroup to maintain its strategy of profit growth and expand its market share.
Why is the deal interesting?
eHealth is a growing market and is supported by the European Union which is monitoring Member State's eHealth policies and strategy.  This deal is CompuGroup’s second acquisition of the month after vision4health, a leading innovator in software solutions for laboratory and diagnostics in Europe with customers in some of the best hospitals and laboratories in Europe.


Cloud

Bidder: Accenture
Target: ClientHouse
Value: Undisclosed
What is unique about the technology?
ClientHouse offers a range of Salesforce’s software products, for example, Sales Cloud, which is a customer relationship management (CRM) software for managing leads and Marketing Cloud, which enables businesses to use social medial and other channels to contact potential customers.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Accenture, via this acquisition, will be able to sell cloud software in Germany and Europe. Using Salesforce's software customers will be able to maximize their business opportunities. 
Why is the deal interesting?
It demonstrates the growing demand for the provision of cloud based Software as a Service. Some commentators mention that as a consequence of Snowden's NSA revelations businesses prefer to use CRM software based in Europe as opposed to the US.

Bidder: Alternative Networks
Target: Control Circle
Value: £39.4 million
What is unique about the technology?
Control Circle delivers complex managed hosting, cloud and datacentre services to enterprises and online businesses.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
This acquisition strengthens and complements the networking and datacentre services Alternative Networks can offer and will enable it to provide a full range of data and IT services including managed and cloud based services, for example, managed hosting, datacentre virtualisation and application management. Clients will also be able to choose from private or public hosted cloud services. 
Why is the deal interesting?
Businesses need to be able to offer cloud solutions to their clients, which increasingly is becoming the preferred method of storage.


Mobile / augmented reality technology

Bidder: Qualcomm
Target: Kooaba
Value: Undisclosed
What is unique about the technology?
Kooaba provides visual recognition and augmented reality technology.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Qualcomm will use this acquisition to enhance everyday experiences via technology. Its platform Vuforia enables customers' apps "to see more than one million of your images in the cloud".
Why is the deal interesting?
Technology is in a continuing state of development.  Integrating augmented reality technology into products improves existing technology's performance even further.


Payments

Bidder: arvato
Target: AfterPay
Value: Undisclosed
What is unique about the technology?
AfterPay is a "pay after delivery" payment solutions provider that has exclusive data and original methods for fraud prevention. It is a payment solution that can be used through mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets. 
How does it benefit the acquirer?
This acquisition will allow arvato to offer open invoicing to its customers. arvato has had a successful working relationship with AfterPay over the last two years.
Why is the deal interesting?
Companies are responding to how online users want to conduct business and are also looking at options to reduce the cost of processing payments. PayPal also offers this service to qualified customers, which allows 14 days for the item to be delivered before payment is made.


Telecoms

Bidder: Liberty Global
Target: Ziggo
Value: €10 billion - $13.7 billion
What is unique about the technology?
The largest cable operators in the Netherlands, Ziggo provides broadband Internet, cable television and telephone services to residential and commercial customers.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
This acquisition assists Liberty Global's ambition to have a consolidated cable market across Europe.
Why is the deal interesting?
Demand for faster Internet speed and digital television in Europe shows no signs of abating and Liberty Global is keen to profit from this with a cable network across the continent. Last year Liberty Global bought Virgin Media and is at present in a bidding war with Vodafone for Spain's largest cable provider Ono.


Cyber security

Bidder: FireEye
Target: Mandiant
Value: More than $1 billion
What is unique about the technology?
Mandiant, a US cyber security firm, is a market leader in preventing today's style of network cyber attacks.
How does it benefit the acquirer?
FireEye will be able to offer its global clients more sophisticated and rapid response solutions to cyber attacks.
Why is the deal interesting?
After Snowden's revelations about the US Government and GCHQ together with Mandiant's accusations last years of the Chinese military hacking US companies, there is a heightened need from businesses for the best cyber security products to protect them from spying by government agencies, malicious groups hacking into their systems and global crime.


Gaming

Bidder: Zynga
Target: NaturalMotion
Value: $527 million
What is unique about the technology?
NaturalMotion, based in the UK, develops games mobile apps that use the latest technology.  Natural Motion's co-founder Torsten Reil uses his scientific background in biology and animal movement (his PhD in Oxford's zoology department focused on complex systems) in the games he creates. For example, the cartoon character Clumsy Ninja has some of the most realistic looking graphics. 
How does it benefit the acquirer?
Zynga has not been able to transfer its desktop and laptop games to mobile devices. In contrast NaturalMotion has had much success in the mobile market. Zynga will be able to capitalize on.  NaturalMotion's technology has also been used in the highly popular game Grand Theft Auto. 
Why is the deal interesting?
In keeping with the market trend it is mobile applications that are in demand as sales of smartphones and tablets increase, whereas interest in the more traditional desktop and laptop hardware is waning.