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Noteworthy Technology Acquisitions 2021

Amid the coronavirus, 2020 was unpredictable in more ways than anyone would have expected. But one thing that stayed fairly constant was the steady flow of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) across the tech sector.

Global tech M&A deals last year totalled $634 billion, a 91.8% year-over-year increase, according to GlobalData. Among a late flurry of big deals was the $35 billion acquisition of Xilinx by Advanced Micro Devices and Salesforce’s $27.7 billion acquisition of Slack.

As for whether 2021 will maintain last year’s pace, if the first part of the year is anything to go by, there will be no slowing of big deals across the industry, with silicon innovations and collaboration software already proving to be hot areas.

Here are the biggest enterprise technology acquisitions of 2021 so far, in reverse chronological order:

Dec. 7: Twitter acquires Quill

Twitter has made its first acquisition since ex-CEO Jack Dorsey stepped down, buying Quill, a business-focused messaging service meant to compete against the likes of Slack.

Founded by Ludwig Pettersson, the former creative director of Stripe, in February 2021, Quill describes itself as “messaging for people that focus” and managed to raise around $16 million from backers. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Quill shut down Dec. 11, with its team joining Twitter’s Experience organization to work on messaging tools — specifically Twitter direct messages.

In a Twitter thread announcing the deal, Nick Caldwell, general manager for core tech at Twitter, described Quill as a “fresher, more deliberate way to communicate. We’re bringing their experience and creativity to Twitter as we work to make messaging tools like DMs a more useful & expressive way people can have conversations on the service.”

Dec. 7: Equinix expands into Africa with $320M MainOne buy

Equinix announced it’s acquiring MainOne, a West African data center and connectivity solutions provider with a presence in Nigeria, Ghana, and the Ivory Coast. The acquisition is expected to close in Q1 of 2022 and cost $320 million.

The deal comes on the heels of Equinix’s $161 million acquisition of GPX India and $780 million purchase of 13 Canadian data centers, signalling the company’s continuing global growth ambitions.

In a statement, Charles Meyers, Equinix president and CEO, said: “The acquisition of MainOne will represent a critical point of entry for Platform Equinix into the expansive and rapidly growing African market. MainOne’s leading interconnection position and experienced management team represent critical assets in our aspirations to be the leading neutral provider of digital infrastructure in Africa.”

Nov. 22: Ericsson to acquire cloud communications company Vonage

Ericsson has announced its intent to acquire cloud communications company Vonage in a $6.2 billion deal.

With Vonage, Ericsson will be able to modernize its approach to communications, as the deal will give it access to a cloud contact center, communications APIs, and a voice over internet protocol (VoIP) solution. The company is also looking to build on its 4G and 5G networking technology by taking advantage of the key pieces of the Vonage family.

B?rje Ekholm, Ericsson president and CEO, said that this is part of a strategy by the company to begin capturing more enterprise business.

“This provides the foundation to build an enterprise business,” he said in a statement. “The acquisition of Vonage is the next step in delivering on that strategic priority. Vonage gives us a platform to help our customers monetize the investments in the network, benefiting developers and businesses.”

Nov. 19: Mmhmm has bought Macro

The videoconferencing software startup, founded by Evernote creator Phil Libin, announced it has bought Macro, a company that created filters, reactions, and tools aimed at making virtual meetings more engaging.

The talks between Macro and Mmhmm started in late September, with the deal closing just weeks later. While the terms of the transaction were undisclosed, Mmhmm has recently raised $100 million in funding.

In a blog post announcing the deal, Mmhmm wrote: “What we love about Macro CEO Ankith Harathi and Macro CTO John Keck is how they know the most important part of any video communication is you — how they’re working to smash barriers to self-expression on video platforms that try to box us in. Most of all, we love that they want us to have fun on video.”

Nov. 18: Workday buys external workforce management startup VNDLY

Finance and people management software company Workday announced plans to acquire VNDLY, a startup that helps companies manage external workforce personnel. The deal is valued at $510 million.

VNDLY was founded in 2017 and raised almost $58 million in funding. The company’s largest and most recent round was a $35 million Series B at the end of 2019 led by Insight Partners.

Pete Schlampp, chief strategy officer at Workday, said as the face of work changes, companies need a way to manage contractors. VNDLY gives them that, he said.

“VNDLY is at the forefront of the vendor management industry with an innovative and intuitive approach,” Schlampp said in a statement. “The powerful combination of our technologies and talent will help customers better manage their evolving workforce dynamics, helping them keep pace with today’s changing world of work.”

Nov. 15: UK startup Immersive Labs acquires US-based startup Snap Labs

Cybersecurity startup Immersive Labs is acquiring US-based cyber startup Snap Labs for an undisclosed “multimillion-dollar figure.” The deal will be a mix of stock and cash.

Immersive Labs, which teaches cybersecurity skills to corporate employees by using up-to-date cyber threat intelligence in a “gamified” way, recently closed a $75 million Series C funding round. Snap Labs is thought to have not previously raised venture funding prior to this deal.

In a statement, James Hadley, CEO of Immersive Labs, said: “The acquisition of Snap Labs will allow customers to build better cyber workforces with richly detailed realistic experiences pinpointed to the risk they face.”

Snap Labs co-founder, Chris Myers, echoed Hadley’s comments, saying: “The two platforms are a natural fit, and by combining them we hope to help our customers build even more resilience against cyber threats.”

Oct. 28: Zendesk is set to acquire Momentive

Zendesk and Momentive reached a deal under which Zendesk will acquire Momentive, including its iconic SurveyMonkey platform. The terms of the transaction give Momentive stockholders 0.225 shares of Zendesk for each share of Momentive; that ratio represents an implied value of $28 per outstanding share of Momentive stock.

According to Zendesk CEO Mikkel Svane, the purchase will enable Zendesk customers to “build more meaningful relationships” by allowing the two companies to cross-sell and co-develop existing and future products.

“The SurveyMonkey brand is iconic, and we’ve admired their business from afar since the inception of Zendesk. They truly democratized an industry — almost everyone in the world has responded to one of their surveys at some point,” Svane said in a statement. “We’re very excited to have them join the Zendesk mission along with Momentive’s market research and insights products and together create a powerful new customer intelligence company.”

Oct. 20: Stripe buys payment automation platform Recko

Jack Dorsey’s Stripe is acquiring the Bangalore-based accountancy platform Recko. Its automated payments reconciliation software aims to replace the manual process of correctly matching transactions and considers currency conversions, refunds and chargebacks.

Recko’s solution will be added to Stripe’s existing suite of financial tools, and the fintech firm’s team will join Stripe’s remote engineering hub.

“Payments reconciliation shouldn’t be a mild headache that balloons into a migraine as a company grows — it should be an easy, highly automated process,” Will Gaybrick, Stripe’s chief product officer, said in a statement. “Stripe helps millions of businesses around the world streamline their revenue management — from subscriptions and invoicing to revenue recognition and bookkeeping. With Recko, we’ll automate their payments reconciliation, a critical input into their overall financial health.”

Oct. 19: Instacart acquires smart checkout startup Caper AI

Instacart has acquired Caper AI for $350 million; the startup builds smart cart and cashier-less checkout technology using computer vision and other techniques to detect items and ring them up for shoppers.

The announcement came less than two weeks after Instacart unveiled its acquisition of FoodStorm, a SaaS order management system (OMS) that powers end-to-end order-ahead and catering for grocery retailers. The acquisitions are part of Instacart’s expanding “B2B2C” retail technology strategy, with the company looking to build a stack of products and services for stores that they, in turn, can use to provide new services to customers.

“The powerful technology we’ve created is intuitive for customers, easy to deploy for retailers of all sizes, and creates a physical retail ecosystem that never existed before,” Caper co-founder Lindon Gao said in a statement. “We share Instacart’s vision of enabling grocery retailers with new innovations that create step changes for their businesses, and we’re proud to now be joining forces with Instacart to develop even more solutions that help bring the online and offline together for retailers.”

Oct. 11: Emerson plans to merge its industrial-software businesses with AspenTech

Emerson Electric Co. has announced it will merge its software units with smaller rival Aspen Technology in a deal worth about $11 billion. The newly merged company will comprise Emerson’s grid modernization technology and geological simulation software, and AspenTech’s software offerings to mining, manufacturing, and pharmaceutical industries.

“We saw an attractive opportunity to accelerate our software strategy to capitalize on the rapidly evolving industrial software landscape,” Emerson CEO Lal Karsanbhai said. “Our customers are increasingly seeking partners to help realize stronger performance as they automate workflows.”

The cash-and-stock deal is for about $160 per share, with AspenTech shareholders set to receive $87 and 0.42 shares of the combined company for each share they currently own.

Oct. 7: Microsoft acquires Ally.io for undisclosed price

Microsoft announced that it has acquired Ally.io, a software service that helps companies measure their progress against OKRs (objectives and key results). Microsoft plans to incorporate Ally.io into its Viva family of employee-experience products, providing a more transparent way to communicate company goals and objectives to workers.

“Aligning employee work to the company’s strategic mission and core priorities is top of mind for every organization. To do this, leaders need to invest in tools that communicate transparency around big company bets and create ways to cascade aspirational goals and report results at all levels of an organization,” Kirk Koenigsbauer, chief operating officer and corporate vice president in charge of experiences and devices, wrote in a blog post announcing the deal.

Oct. 6: Siemens acquires Wattsense

Siemens Smart Infrastructure has completed the acquisition of French startup Wattsense, a hardware and software firm that offers IoT management systems for small and mid-size buildings. Wattsense enables the adoption of energy management practices in facilities with little or no building management system technology.

“Together with Wattsense, we will accelerate the adoption of IoT systems in a wider range of buildings, bringing the sustainability, comfort and cost benefits to more people and businesses,” said Henning Sandfort, CEO of building products at Siemens Smart Infrastructure. “The SaaS business model and innovative technology stack of Wattsense perfectly complement our growing digital portfolio for our customers.”

Oct. 4: NetApp to Acquire CloudCheckr

NetApp announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire CloudCheckr, expanding its Spot by NetApp CloudOps platform.

CloudCheckr is a leading cloud optimization platform that provides cloud visibility and insights to lower costs, maintain security and compliance, and optimize cloud resources. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

In a statement, Anthony Lye, executive vice president and general manager of NetApp’s Public Cloud Services business unit said: “By adding cloud billing analytics, cost management capabilities, cloud compliance and security to our CloudOps platform through the acquisition of CloudCheckr, we are enabling organizations to deploy infrastructure and business applications faster while reducing their capital and operational costs.”

Oct. 4: Qualcomm acquires Veoneer for $4.5B

Qualcomm scored the purchase of Swedish automotive tech company Veoneer, outbidding Magna International who had already agreed to by Veoneer.

Under the deal, Qualcomm and New York-based SSW Partners will acquire Veoneer for $37 a share. SSW Partners will then sell Veoneer’s autonomous-driving software operation known as Arriver to Qualcomm and find owners for the rest of its businesses. As a result of the new deal, Veoneer will pay Magna a “breakup fee” of $110 million.

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“Qualcomm is the natural owner of Arriver. By integrating these assets, Qualcomm accelerates its ability to deliver a leading and horizontal ADAS solution as part of its digital chassis platform,” said Cristiano Amon, president and CEO of Qualcomm Incorporated.

The acquisition has been accepted by the Qualcomm and Veoneer boards of directors, but will require regulatory approval. If the deal moves forward, it is expected to close in 2022.

Sept. 29: Blue Prism acquired by Vista, to become part of Tibco

Blue Prism has acquired robotic process automation vendor Blue Prism for $1.5 billion and plans to combine the company with Tibco.
Founded in 2001, UK-based Blue Prism offers a no-code automation platform that enables organizations to automate certain processes, with capabilities including the Intelligent Automation Platform, Blue Prism Clou,d and Automation Lifecycle Management.

“Combining with Vista and Tibco will ensure we remain at the forefront of the next generation of intelligent automation,” Blue Prism CEO Jason Kingdon said. “We can expand the range of products we offer our customers with Tibco’s global footprint and technologies and, as a privately owned company, we will also have greater access to capital to pursue new growth opportunities via product investment and other potential M&A.”

Sept. 13: Intuit buys Mailchimp for $12B

Intuit, best known for its financial service offerings, is set to acquire the email marketing company Mailchimp for $12 billion in cash and stock.

As part of the agreement, Mailchimp will work with QuickBooks, Intuit’s accounting software, to help small and medium-sized businesses acquire and retain customers.

In a statement on the acquisition, Intuit said that the deal advances its “powering prosperity around the world, and its strategy to become an AI-driven expert platform.”

The company added that its Mailchimp buy would allow it to “work to deliver on the vision of an innovative, end-to-end customer growth platform for small and mid-market businesses, allowing them to get their business online, market their business, manage customer relationships…and have experts at their “

Sept. 1: Apollo Global Management acquires Yahoo for $5B

Private equity firm Apollo Global Management has completed its acquisition of Yahoo, formerly known as Verizon Media Group, from Verizon. The deal is valued at $5 billion, including $4.25 billion in cash, with Verizon retaining 10% of the newly rebranded company.

“We look forward to partnering with Yahoo’s talented employee base to build on the company’s strong momentum and position the new Yahoo for long-term success as a standalone consumer internet and digital media leader,” Apollo Partner Reed Rayman said in a statement announcing the news. “We couldn’t be more excited about this next chapter for Yahoo as we look to invest in growth across the business, including accelerating its customer-first offerings and commerce capabilities, expanding its reach and enhancing the daily user experience.”

Aug. 26: Zendesk acquires AI startup Cleverly

Zendesk is looking to grow its customer service capabilities with the acquisition of artificial intelligence (AI) startup Cleverly.

Cleverly’s product platform offers a series of AI-powered capabilities, including what the company refers to as AI-powered human augmentation; its agent assist capability aims to help customer service agents provide the right answers to inquiries. The company’s technology already integrates with Zendesk, as well as with Salesforce.

“With Cleverly, we will deliver a range of capabilities that automate key insights, further reduce manual tasks and improve workflows, and overall lead to happier, more productive support teams,” Shawna Wolverton, executive vice president of product at Zendesk, said in a statement. “We will have more news to share on that front once the team is up and running.”

Aug. 19: Adobe buys Frame.io for $1.275B

Adobe announced it is acquiring Frame.io, a video review and collaboration platform for $1.275 billion in cash.

The Frame.io platform helps creative professionals streamline the video creation process by centralizing dailies, scripts, storyboards, works-in-progress, and more, while also allowing for frame-accurate feedback and comments, annotations, and real-time approvals. The company also touts faster upload speeds than other cloud hosting services such as Vimeo, Box, and Dropbox.

In a statement about the acquisition, Adobe said the combination of its creative software and Frame.io’s review and approval functions “deliver[s] a collaboration platform that powers the video editing process.”

Aug. 16: Cisco acquires app-monitoring startup Epsagon

Cisco announced it’s acquiring Israeli applications-monitoring startup Epsagon at a price pegged at $500 million.

The acquisition comes after two other high-profile app-monitoring deals for Cisco, including AppDynamics, which the company bought in 2018 for $3.7 billion, and ThousandEyes, which it nabbed last year for $1 billion.

Epsagon is built from the ground up to monitor modern applications built with containers and Kubernetes giving users tracing and metrics.

“Cisco’s approach to full-stack observability gives our customers the ability to move beyond just monitoring to a paradigm that delivers shared context across teams and enables our customers to deliver exceptional digital experiences, optimize for cost, security and performance and maximize digital business revenue,” Liz Centoni Cisco’s senior vice president & chief strategy officer, wrote in a blog post.

Aug. 10: Microsoft buys Peer5 to boost Teams

Microsoft is working to bolster live video streaming in Teams by acquiring electronic content-delivery network (eCDN) vendor Peer5.

Peer5 runs in browsers to optimize bandwidth usage for line-of-business applications and has mesh networks that can automatically scale as the number of viewers increases. Peer5’s technology doesn’t require additional installation on user endpoints or any changes to physical network infrastructure.

“As Microsoft Teams has become the primary communications and collaboration platform for many of our customers, they’ve asked us for more integrated…solutions for large-scale meetings and virtual events,” Nicole Herskowitz wrote in a Teams blog post. “Peer5…expand[s] our ability for delivering secure, high-quality, large-scale live video streaming with optimized network performance in Teams.”

Aug. 2: Salesforce to acquire Servicetrace

Salesforce has inked a deal to acquire Servicetrace, a leading provider of robotic process automation (RPA). Though the companies haven’t made the purchase price public, Salesforce intends to make Servicetrace part of Mulesoft, the company it bought in 2018 for $6.5 billion.

Servicetrace was founded in 2004 and has had a number of its products rated favorably by analysts, including its intelligent process recorder and scaling technology, as well as its integrated ROI analytics and Kanban board for collaborative projects.

“The combination of integration, API management, and automation is required for companies to scale and increase the speed of work — from streamlining sales operations to speeding up customer case resolution. And that’s why we’re thrilled to bring together Servicetrace’s leading RPA solution with our leading API and integration platform,” Mulesoft CEO Brent Hayward wrote in a blog post announcing the deal.

Aug. 2: Square takes over Afterpay for $29B

Square, the digital payments platform co-founded by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, has agreed to take over Afterpay, the Australian “Buy now, pay later” firm, for $29 billion.

Founded in 2014 by Australians Nick Molnar and Anthony Eisen, Afterpay has more than 16 million customers and is used by 100 million businesses around the world. The company is currently a leader in a growing sector of the online payments market that allows consumers to pay for their purchases in installments.

The agreement means that Afterpay will be able to expand more quickly in the US, where the company’s sales nearly tripled over the last year to $8.15 billion.

“Square and Afterpay have a shared purpose,” said Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Square. “We built our business to make the financial system more fair, accessible, and inclusive, and Afterpay has built a trusted brand aligned with those principles. Together, we can better connect our Cash App and Seller ecosystems to deliver even more compelling products and services for merchants and consumers, putting the power back in their hands.”

July 29: Qualtrics acquires Clarabridge for $1.125B

Qualtrics announced it’s acquiring Clarabridge in an all-stock deal worth $1.125 billion.

Spun out of SAP SE before going public earlier this year, Qualtrics makes software that helps companies gather customer feedback about their experiences with products and services. Clarabridge’s software uses artificial intelligence to comb indirect sources like social media posts and customer support calls for information about how customers felt about a brand.

“Clarabridge’s ability to help companies discover what their customers are saying about them across unstructured sources and provide meaningful, actionable insights is a perfect complement to the Qualtrics platform,” Clarabridge CEO Mark Bishof said in a statement. “What we deliver is far more powerful as part of Qualtrics, and we have an incredible opportunity to accelerate our growth and innovation as part of the world’s [No. 1] experience management company.”

July 27: HP to acquire Teradici Corporation for an undisclosed amount

HP is buying high-performance remote computing software firm Teradici in a deal expected to close during the fourth quarter of the year. According to HP, the move “will enhance the company’s capabilities in the Personal Systems category by delivering new compute models and services tailored for hybrid work.”

“Teradici’s cutting-edge technology has long been at the forefront of secure, high-performance virtual computing,” said Alex Cho, president for ersonal systems at HP. “Their world-class talent, industry-leading IP, and strong integrations with all major public cloud providers will expand our addressable market, and meet growing customer needs for more mobile, flexible, and secure computing solutions.”

July 27: Shutterstock buys three AI companies for $35M

Stock media site Shutterstock made a trio of acquisitions in July, ahead of announcing a new artificial intelligence unit called Shutterstock.AI.

The three companies are campaign performance optimization tool maker Pattern89; digital asset recommendation engine Datasine; and predictive image selector Shotzr. The total cost of the acquisitions was around $35 million.

The new unit is designed to help Shutterstock customers find the right content for their campaigns from the 400 million images, videos, music tracks, and 3D models in the Shutterstock media library.

“With these three acquisitions, Shutterstock.AI will help our customers globally solve the biggest creative challenge they have — discovering and selecting the right content that is relevant, and that resonates with audiences. We want our customers to create with confidence,” Shutterstock CEO Stan Pavlovsky said in a statement.

July: 22 Visa to acquire Currencycloud for $700M

Visa continued its European fintech buying streak in July, acquiring London-based startup Currencycloud for $700 million. This followed the June acquisition of Swedish open banking startup Tink for $2.15 billion (see below for details).

Founded in 2007, Currencycloud has built an API-based foreign exchange and cross-border payments platform, which allows banks and financial services to provide foreign exchange services to customers.
“The acquisition of Currencycloud is another example of Visa executing on our network of networks strategy to facilitate global money movement,” Colleen Ostrowski, Visa’s Global Treasurer, said in a statement. “Consumers and businesses increasingly expect transparency, speed and simplicity when making or receiving international payments. With our acquisition of Currencycloud, we can support our clients and partners to further reduce the pain points of cross-border payments and develop great user experiences for their customers.”

Visa says that Currencycloud will continue to operate from London under the existing management team.

July 21: Microsoft acquires CloudKnox

Microsoft made its second cybersecurity acquisition of the month when it announced the purchase of CloudKnox, a five-year-old California-based specialist in multicloud security.

CloudKnox software helps organizations spot and remove vulnerable permissions to cloud resources, and flag unusual activity to security teams. This technology will bolster Microsoft’s Azure Active Directory across hybrid and multicloud environments.

“CloudKnox offers complete visibility into privileged access,” Joy Chik, corporate vice president for Microsoft Identity, wrote in a blog post. “It helps organizations right-size permissions and consistently enforce least-privilege principles to reduce risk, and it employs continuous analytics to help prevent security breaches and ensure compliance. This strengthens our comprehensive approach to cloud security.”

July 18: Zoom acquires Five9 for $14.7B

Videoconferencing giant Zoom made its biggest acquisition to date, purchasing the contact center technology provider Five9 for $14.7 billion in an all-stock transaction.

Five9 is a 20-year-old California company that specializes in flexible cloud-based contact center technology, as opposed to traditional on-premise systems for contact center staff. Five9 competes with the likes of Twilio, Talkdesk, Genesys and cloud giant Amazon Web Services in what is becoming a crowded space.

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“We are continuously looking for ways to enhance our platform, and the addition of Five9 is a natural fit that will deliver even more happiness and value to our customers,” Zoom CEO Eric Yuan said in a statement. “Enterprises communicate with their customers primarily through the contact center, and we believe this acquisition creates a leading customer engagement platform that will help redefine how companies of all sizes connect with their customers.”

Zoom launched its own cloud-based enterprise phone system in 2019; the company says the Five9 acquisition will complement that move, as the company looks to expand its reach with enterprise customers beyond its popular videoconferencing software.

July 13: Microsoft to acquire cybersecurity firm RiskIQ

Microsoft announced the acquisition of cybersecurity company RiskIQ for a reported $500 million. San Francisco-based RiskIQ specializes in threat intelligence, detection and protection for clients like BMW, American Express, and the US Postal Service.

“Microsoft has long been a leader in delivering end-to-end cloud-native security with Microsoft 365 Defender, Microsoft Azure Defender, and Microsoft Azure Sentinel that help protect, detect, and respond to threats in multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments. With the acquisition of RiskIQ, we will continue our mission to help customers defend their growing digital estate against increasing cyber threats,” Eric Doerr, vice president for cloud security at Microsoft wrote in a blog post.

June 29: JFRog acquires Vdoo for $300M

Devops specialist JFrog announced it’s buying cybersecurity firm Vdoo in June for $300 million in cash and stock in a bid to help customers build more secure software. Vdoo has built an AI-based platform that detects software vulnerabilities specifically for connected devices, also known as the internet of things.

“It is clear to us that the joint vision of changing the way software is being created, released, and updated to the edge will be our compass as we offer the market a binary-focused solution to secure their organization’s software assets,” JFrog CEO Shlomi Ben Haim said in a statement. “This move will amplify JFrog’s current success with our security solution, JFrog Xray, and create the expectation that ‘fearless releases’ will be the experience for both Security and Development teams.”

June 25: AWS to acquire Wickr

Cloud giant Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced the purchase of secure messaging service Wickr for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition comes as AWS continues to push its services into the public and military sectors. “This gives security conscious enterprises and government agencies the ability to implement important governance and security controls to help them meet their compliance requirements,” AWS CISO Stephen Schmidt wrote in a blog post.

AWS says it will offer Wickr services to customers immediately; existing customers should notice no change.

June 24: Visa to acquire Tink for $2.15B

Payments giant Visa announced the planned acquisition of European fintech firm Tink for EUR1.8 billion ($2.15 billion) in June. The news comes just months after Visa abandoned a planned $5.3 billion acquisition of US firm Plaid, which builds similar technology, in the face of significant regulatory issues.

Based in Sweden, Tink has built an API that allows customers greater access to their bank account and payments data, allowing them to be collected in a single place and opening up a new range of digital banking services. This is possible thanks to new European Open Banking rules, which force banks to open up customer data to verified third parties.

“Joining Visa, we will be able to move faster and reach further than ever before. Visa is the perfect partner for the next stage of Tink’s journey, and we are incredibly excited about what this will bring to our employees, customers and for the future of financial services,” Tink co-founder and CEO Daniel Kjell?n said in a statement.

June 21: Hyundai takes controlling stake in Boston Dynamics

South Korean automaker Hyundai announced it had taken a controlling stake in US robotics company Boston Dynamics in June, valuing the company at $1.1 billion.

Best known for its robot dog Spot and its warehouse robot, Handle — as well as haunting people’s nightmares on social media — Boston Dynamics has carved out an impressive reputation for itself in the still nascent robotics space.

“We and Hyundai share a view of the transformational power of mobility and look forward to working together to accelerate our plans to enable the world with cutting-edge automation, and to continue to solve the world’s hardest robotics challenges for our customers,” Boston Dynamics CEO Rob Playter said in a statement.

June 2: Prosus acquires Stack Overflow for $1.8B

Popular programming Q&A website Stack Overflow was acquired by South African investment firm Prosus for $1.8 billion in June.

“The most important part of this announcement is that Stack Overflow will continue to operate independently, with the exact same team in place that has been operating it, according to the exact same plan and the exact same business practices,” Stack Overflow cofounder Joel Spolsky wrote in a blog post at the time. “Don’t expect to see major changes or awkward ‘synergies.’ The business of Stack Overflow will continue to focus on Reach and Relevance, and Stack Overflow for Teams. The entire company is staying in place: we just have different owners now.”

May 11: Jamf acquires Wandera for $400M

Enterprise Apple device management specialist Jamf agreed to acquire zero trust cloud security company Wandera in May for $400 million. Jamf will look to bring Wandera’s mobile security capabilities into its own Apple device management suite.

“In order to lead Apple Enterprise Management and best serve the growing number of organizations using Apple at work, Jamf needs to fill the gap between what users want and what the enterprise requires,” said Jamf CEO Dean Hage in a statement. “The combination of Wandera and Jamf will provide our customers a single source platform that handles deployment, Application Lifecycle Management, policies, filtering, and security capabilities across all Apple devices while delivering Zero Trust Network Access for all mobile workers.”

May 10: ServiceNow acquires Lightstep

ServiceNow acquired software observability specialist Lightstep for an undisclosed amount. Observability is a hot technology area this year due to the increased complexity of enterprise systems in the cloud era, meaning engineers and tech leaders want more insight into how their systems are performing and what is causing issues — quickly. Post-acquisition, ServiceNow will look to bring these capabilities together with its existing tools, which are used by IT teams to respond to issues.

Founded in San Francisco by ex-Googlers, Lightstep had already raised around $70 million in venture funding from the likes of Sequoia, Redpoint, and Altimeter.

“This acquisition is going to help a great deal: ServiceNow’s customers run many of the most critical software applications in the world! As part of ServiceNow, Lightstep will be in a far better position to reach these customers, deliver our product, and help them innovate faster – with clarity and confidence,” Lightstep cofounder and CEO Ben Sigelman wrote in a blog post.

ServiceNow CEO Bill McDermott was an acquisitive chief during his time at SAP and appears to be taking this strategy with him in the new role, adding half a dozen new companies already since joining in 2019.

May 3: Dell sells Boomi for $4B

Dell made the second high-profile move to restructure its business in the space of a month by selling the integration specialist Boomi, which it acquired in 2010, to private equity firms Francisco Partners and TPG for $4 billion. This follows the earlier decision to spin out its VMware business in April.

“The ability to integrate and connect data and workflows across any combination of applications or domains is a critical business capability, and we strongly believe that Boomi is well positioned to help companies of all sizes turn data into their most valuable asset,” Francisco CEO Dipanjan Deb and partner Brian Decker said in a statement.

April 30: IBM acquires Turbonomic

IBM announced the acquisition of Turbonomic at the end of April for an undisclosed amount.

The Boston, MA-based company specializes in Application Resource Management (ARM) and Network Performance Management (NPM) software; it uses machine learning to spot application performance issues and optimize underlying resources, whether that involves containers, VMs, servers, storage, networks, and databases.

The acquisition is similar to the pick-up of Instana last year, as IBM looks to jump on the observability bandwagon. These acquisitions will all help IBM offer a greater range of AIOps and observability options for customers, particularly through its IBM Cloud Pak for Watson AIOps.

“IBM continues to reshape its future as a hybrid cloud and AI company,” Rob Thomas, senior vice president, IBM Cloud and Data Platform, said in a statement. “The Turbonomic acquisition is yet another example of our commitment to making the most impactful investments to advance this strategy and ensure customers find the most innovative ways to fuel their digital transformations.”

April 29: Microsoft acquires Kinvolk

Microsoft made a move to boost its capabilities in the Kubernetes space with the acquisition of German firm Kinvolk for an undisclosed amount.

Founded in 2015, Kinvolk has been building enterprise-grade tools to help developers adopt cloud-native technologies like containers and Kubernetes, including Flatcar Container Linux, as an alternative to CoreOS Container Linux, as well as the Lokomotive and Inspektor Gadget projects.

Microsoft expects to integrate the Kinvolk team and technology into the team responsible for its managed Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), its hybrid solution Azure Arc, and to boost Microsoft’s upstream open-source contributions.

“We’re excited to bring the Kinvolk team and their technologies to Microsoft and look forward to the contributions they bring to Azure, our customers, and the open source community,” Brendan Burns, corporate vice president, Azure Compute wrote in a company post.

April 23: Panasonic acquires Blue Yonder for $7.1B

Panasonic acquired the remaining 80% of shares in Blue Yonder in April, spending $7.1 billion, including the repayment of debt.

Arizona-based Blue Yonder specializes in automated supply chain software that uses AI, IoT, and edge computing technology to track goods. Panasonic will look to add these capabilities to its Autonomous Supply Chain offering, which helps customers better track their supply chain and predict future demand for better efficiency.

“I’m extremely happy to welcome Blue Yonder and its associates to the Panasonic Group. Both companies have the same mission to support customers’ frontline operations and we have a high affinity in our corporate cultures. By merging the two companies, we would like to realize a world where waste is autonomously eliminated from all supply chain operations and the cycle of sustainable improvement continues,” Panasonic CEO Yuki Kusumi said in a statement.

April 15: IBM to acquire myInvenio

IBM acquired process automation specialist myInvenio for an undisclosed amount. The Italian firm specializes in process mining, a fairly nascent technology that allows enterprises to identify inefficient business processes and find opportunities for greater automation using data and software.

The acquisition marked the continuation of a bit of a trend, as fellow vendor SAP acquired process automation specialist Signavio earlier this year (see below). IBM will fold myInvenio into its existing Automation business unit.

“Digital transformation is accelerating across industries as companies face increasing challenges with managing critical IT systems and complex business applications that span the hybrid cloud landscape,” Dinesh Nirmal, general manager for IBM Automation, said in a statement. “With IBM’s planned acquisition of myInvenio, we are continuing to invest in building the industry’s most comprehensive suite of AI-powered automation capabilities for business automation so that our customers can help employees re-claim their time to focus on more strategic work.”

April 12: Microsoft to acquire Nuance for $19.7B

Microsoft unveiled the biggest acquisition of the year so far when it announced the purchase of Nuance for $19.7 billion in an all-cash deal.

Based in Burlington, MA., Nuance specializes in conversational artificial intelligence (AI) and speech recognition technology, primarily aimed at helping healthcare workers streamline the capture and interrogation of clinical information to free up their time. Microsoft will be eying its capabilities to complement its existing Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare product, one of a growing selection of industry-focused cloud suites.

“Nuance provides the AI layer at the healthcare point of delivery and is a pioneer in the real-world application of enterprise AI,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement. “AI is technology’s most important priority, and healthcare is its most urgent application. Together, with our partner ecosystem, we will put advanced AI solutions into the hands of professionals everywhere to drive better decision-making and create more meaningful connections, as we accelerate growth of Microsoft Cloud in Healthcare and Nuance.”

March 31: Hitachi acquires GlobalLogic for $9.6B

Japanese conglomerate Hitachi announced it is acquiring tech services outsourcing company GlobalLogic in a $9.6 billion deal that includes repayment of debt at the end of March.

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Based in Silicon Valley, GlobalLogic works with customers such as McDonald’s and Reuters to build digital services and products and has more than $1 billion in annual revenues. Hitachi will look to combine GlobalLink with its own technology units, specifically Lumada.

“The acquisition of GlobalLogic creates an exciting new opportunity for Hitachi to expand our offerings of Lumada solutions and services, provide value to customers in their digital transformation journey, and grow our Lumada business globally,” Hitachi CEO Toshiaki Higashihara said in a statement. “The synergy of GlobalLogic’s leading experience design and innovation with Hitachi’s expertise in IT, operational technology, and products, will help us realize our goal to be the leading digital transformation innovator in social infrastructure worldwide.”

March 23: UiPath acquires Cloud Elements

On the same day ServiceNow made a robotic process automation (RPA) acquisition, RPA vendor UiPath made an addition of its own, picking up the Denver, CO-based firm Cloud Elements for an undisclosed amount.

Cloud Elements specializes in API integration, similar to Mulesoft and Apigee, which are now part of Salesforce and Google, respectively. For UiPath, this capability could allow customers to better link processes that span various enterprise systems to build more effective automations.

“By making automation both easier and faster to deploy, the UiPath Platform has the capability of significantly improving some of the most costly and time-consuming activities of the modern enterprise. The acquisition of Cloud Elements is just one example of how we are building a flexible and scalable enterprise-ready platform that helps customers become fully automated enterprises,” UiPath CEO Daniel Dines said in a statement.

March 23: ServiceNow acquires Indian RPA company Intellibot

ServiceNow moved to add more robotic process automation (RPA) capability to its platform by picking up the Indian startup Intellibot for an undisclosed price. ServiceNow intends to build Intellibot’s capabilities into its Now Platform to allow customers to automate more business processes.

“ServiceNow is the platform of platforms for the workflow revolution, offering powerful end-to-end automation capabilities that allow customers to streamline business decisions and unlock new levels of productivity,” Josh Kahn, senior vice president of Creator Workflow Products at ServiceNow, said in a statement. “With Intellibot, we will extend ServiceNow’s ability to help customers connect systems so they can easily automate workflows and drive productivity.”

This acquisition continues a trend of IT companies offering RPA capabilities, either by building them, as Microsoft has, or buying them, as SAP did when it acquired Signavio in January (see below).

March 19: Aveva completes $5B OSIsoft deal

British industrial software specialist Aveva completed the $5 billion acquisition of its US rival OSIsoft in March. The deal was initially announced last summer and passed regulatory approval in March 2021.

Based in California, OSIsoft is part of SoftBank’s $100 billion Vision Fund portfolio and specializes in real-time industrial operational data, which should complement the Cambridge-based firm if smoothly integrated.

“Data has been enabling organizations to more effectively determine the cause of problems by allowing them to visualize what is happening in different locations, departments and systems. This agreement will enable our customers to improve business processes as well as eliminate inefficiencies,” AVEVA CEO Craig Hayman said in a statement last year when the deal was first announced.

March 18: VMware acquires Mesh7

VMware announced plans to acquire the security vendor Mesh7 for an undisclosed amount in March.

Based in Sunnyvale, CA, Mesh7 specializes in API security for distributed cloud environments. The Mesh7 team will join the Tanzu unit at VMware to work on service mesh security.

“Mesh7 technology will enable VMware to bring visibility, discovery, and better security to APIs,” Tom Gillis, senior vice president and general manager for networking and security at VMware, wrote in a blog post. “Security teams and operators need better visibility into application behavior and overall security posture, and the developer experience needs to lead to more secure operations.”

March 9: Dropbox acquires DocSend for $165M

In one of the more obviously complementary deals of the year so far, cloud file storage specialist Dropbox is acquiring DocSend, the secure document sharing company and fellow San Francisco native, for $165 million in cash.

DocSend had raised just $15 million in funding since being founded in 2013, marking an excellent exit for the company and its investors, which includes DCM Ventures and August Capital.

Its unique selling point is the ability to give those who share a documents full visibility into whether a doc is opened, by whom, and when. Dropbox also acquired the e-signature company HelloSign last year, and is looking to integrate all of those capabilities into a secure end-to-end document sharing experience for customers.

“DocSend is a perfect complement to our product roadmap and we’re thrilled to welcome them to our team. By bringing Dropbox, HelloSign, and DocSend together, we’ll be able to offer a full suite of secure, self-serve products to help them manage critical document workflows from start to finish,” Dropbox CEO Drew Houston said in a statement.

March 4: Square acquires streaming platform Tidal for $297M

Jack Dorsey’s fintech company Square announced it’s acquiring a majority ownership stake in the music streaming platform Tidal in a surprise $297 million stock-and-cash deal.

Tidal was founded in Norway in 2014, but was put on the map in 2015 when it was bought by American rapper and mogul Jay Z. It competes with Apple Music and Spotify and looks to set itself apart with high-quality streams and by promising to better compensate artists for their streams.

“It comes down to one simple idea: finding new ways for artists to support their work,” said Jack Dorsey, the Twitter and Square CEO, said in a statement. “New ideas are found at intersections, and we believe there’s a compelling one between music and the economy. I knew Tidal was something special as soon as I experienced it, and it will continue to be the best home for music, musicians, and culture.”

Tidal will continue to operate as a standalone business and Sean “Jay-Z” Carter will take a seat on the Square board as part of the deal.

March 4: Xero acquires Planday for EUR183.5M

Small-business focused accounting software maker Xero acquired Planday for a mix of cash and shares that could eventually reach a price of EUR183.5 million. Based in Denmark, Planday has built a specialist SaaS workforce management and rota scheduling product that counts a wide range of hospitality companies as customers.

“The acquisition of Planday aligns with our purpose to make life better for people in small businesses and their advisors. Planday’s workforce management platform helps small businesses to respond to the rapidly changing nature of work. Planday also addresses the growing need for flexibility and rising compliance demands within the workplace,” Xero CEO Steve Vamos said in a statement.

March 3: Okta to acquire Auth0 for $6.5B

Okta announced plans to acquire fellow identity management specialist Auth0 for $6.5 billion in an all-stock deal. That price represents a significant premium, as Auth0 was last valued at $1.92 billion privately after raising $120 million in July 2020; that investment was led by Salesforce Ventures.

At first glance, the acquisition looks highly complementary, as Okta builds SaaS tools to help organizations identify and authenticate access to applications across their business. Auth0 was established in 2013 by a team of ex-Microsoft engineers, intent on building a developer-friendly way to include identity management controls within applications.

Okta confirmed that Auth0 will continue to operate as an independent business unit, but Okta will look for integration opportunities once the deal has been rubber stamped.

“Combining Auth0’s developer-centric identity solution with the Okta Identity Cloud will drive tremendous value for both current and future customers,” Okta CEO Todd McKinnon said in a statement. “Okta’s and Auth0’s shared vision for the identity market, rooted in customer success, will accelerate our innovation, opening up new ways for our customers to leverage identity to meet their business needs. We are thrilled to join forces with the Auth0 team, as they are ideal allies in building identity for the internet and establishing identity as a primary cloud.”

February 26: Atlassian acquires Chartio

Atlassian announced that it’s acquiring the popular data visualization tool Chartio for an undisclosed amount. The Australian software-as-a-service company will look to incorporate Chartio’s collaborative dashboards and reports into its own analytics tools and to give users of tools like Jira and Confluence better insight into their data.

“Atlassian products are home to a treasure trove of data, and our goal is to unleash the power of this data so our customers can go beyond out-of-the-box reports and truly customize analytics to meet the needs of their organization,” Zoe Ghani, head of product experience at platform at Atlassian, wrote in a blog post.

It’s bad news for existing Chartio customers however, who have been told they have a year to export their data to another tool.

February 26: Cision acquires Brandwatch for $450M

The UK media landscape shifted in February when the media monitoring and PR database Cision acquired Brandwatch, the online consumer intelligence and social media listening platform, for $450 million in a combined cash and stock deal.

Based in Brighton on the English south coast, Brandwatch specializes in social listening that allows brands to get a better idea of consumer sentiment. Cision hopes to bring this together with its media and PR smarts to give clients a fuller picture of how consumers view their brand.

“The continued digital shift and widespread adoption of social media is rapidly and fundamentally changing how brands and organizations engage with their customers. This is driving the imperative that PR, marketing, social, and customer care teams fully incorporate the unique insights now available into consumer-led strategies,” Cision CEO Abel Clark said in a statement.

February 24: Autodesk acquires Innovyze for $1B

Autodesk announced it would acquire software maker Innovyze for $1 billion in February. The Portland, OR-based Innovyze makes software to model, simulate and analyze water infrastructure.

Autodesk specializes in industrial CAD software for 3D modelling and is popular with architects and engineers. This acquisition is aimed at giving the company a foothold in the water utilities market.

“Autodesk’s design DNA is found in just about every structure you see above ground and below, so it makes strategic sense to bring together our complementary organizations critical to much of the world’s population,” Colby Manwaring, CEO of Innovyze, said in a statement. “We look forward to completing the acquisition and getting to work, together.”

February 18: CrowdStrike to acquire Humio for $400M

Hot on the heels of the SentinelOne acquisition of Scalyr, CrowdStrike announced it would acquire another logging specialist, Humio, for $400 million. Humio’s unique selling point has always been unlimited logging, allowing customers to collect as much as they want for a better picture of how their systems are working.

“Humio had become the data lake for these enterprises, enabling searches for longer periods of time and from more data sources allowing them to understand their entire environment, prepare for the unknown, proactively prevent issues, recover quickly from incidents, and get to the root cause,” Geeta Schmidt, Humio CEO wrote in a blog post.

CrowdStrike is looking to add this logging capability to its security monitoring tools to help customers react to threats in closer to real time.

“The combination of real-time analytics and smart filtering built into CrowdStrike’s proprietary Threat Graph and Humio’s blazing-fast log management and index-free data ingestion dramatically accelerates our capabilities beyond anything the market has seen to date,” CrowdStrike CEO and co-founder George Kurtz said in a statement.

February 9: SentinelOne to acquire Scalyr for $155M

Cybersecurity analytics vendor SentinelOne made a splashy acquisition in February, picking up the log analytics and observability software specialist Scalyr for $155 million in stock and cash.

The combination of Scalyr’s data analytics with our industry leading AI capabilities ushers in a new era of machine-speed prevention, detection, and response to attacks across the enterprise,” Tomer Weingarten, CEO of SentinelOne, said in a statement.

Still a startup, although a well-funded one with a $3 billion private valuation, SentinelOne expects to integrate Scalyr’s high-speed logging capabilities into its own software for faster threat intelligence, while also continuing to run it as a standalone product with a loyal set of current customers.

January 28: Workday to acquire Peakon for $700M

HR and finance software specialist Workday announced plans to buy employee feedback platform Peakon for $700 million in cash.

Founded in Denmark in 2014, Peakon had raised $68 million in funding to date. It offers organizations a software-as-a-service (SaaS) tool for regularly tracking employee sentiment and other tools to measure the happiness of the workforce, making it a highly complementary acquisition for Workday’s own SaaS HR tools.

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“Bringing Peakon into the Workday family will be very compelling to our customers – especially following an extraordinary past year that has magnified the importance of having a constant pulse on employee sentiment in order to keep people engaged and productive,” Aneel Bhusri, cofounder and co-CEO of Workday said in a statement.

January 27: SAP to acquire Signavio

German software firm SAP announced it’s acquiring fellow German firm Signavio, which specializes in cloud-native enterprise business process intelligence and management for an undisclosed fee. Signavio was last valued at $400 million after a $177 million funding round in July 2019.

The announcement was made in conjunction with a new product from SAP called Rise, a bundle of existing SAP software and services aimed at offering customers “business transformation-as-a-service”.

SAP will aim to use Signavio’s expertise around business process intelligence to help more customers optimize these processes as they become more digital.

“I cannot overstress the importance for companies to be able to design, benchmark, improve, and transform business processes across the enterprise to support new capabilities and business models,” Luka Mucic, chief financial officer and member of SAP’s Executive Board, said in a statement.

January 20: Citrix to acquire Wrike for $2.25 billion

Virtualization specialist Citrix announced the planned acquisition of collaboration software maker Wrike for $2.25 billion in cash. Citrix already has a digital work platform called Workspace and will look to fold the Wrike team and technology into that product.

“Together, Citrix and Wrike will deliver the solutions needed to power a cloud-delivered digital workspace experience that enables teams to securely access the resources and tools they need to collaborate and get work done in the most efficient and effective way possible across any channel, device or location,” David Henshall, president and CEO of Citrix, said in a statement.

January 14: Cisco acquires Acacia for $4.5 billion

Cisco started the year by picking up the optical technology firm Acacia for $4.5 billion. Originally announced in July 2019, there was a lot of back and forth over the deal, with Cisco paying an additional $1.9 billion to get the purchase over the line.

Based in Massachusetts, Acacia specializes in high-speed optical systems such as digital signal processing, photonic integrated circuit modules, and transceivers for use in networking products and data centers — a set of technologies Cisco clearly sees as integral to future networks linking data centers, cloud, and service providers.

“Together we will ignite our strategy to transform the optical world as we know it, with innovative solutions to boost network capacity inside and outside the data center,” Bill Gartner, senior vice president and general manager, Cisco Optical Systems and Optics Group, said in a statement.

Acacia CEO Raj Shanmugaraj and company employees will join Cisco’s Optics business upon completion of the deal.

January 13: Qualcomm to Acquire Nuvia for $1.4 billion

Hot on the heels of a burst of semiconductor consolidation at the end of 2020, Qualcomm announced it was acquiring Nuvia for around $1.4 billion.

The two-year-old Santa Clara-based company was founded by a team of Apple engineers and makes high-performance CPU chips.

“The Nuvia team are proven innovators, and like Qualcomm, have a strong heritage in creating leading technology and products…. Together, we are very well positioned to redefine computing and enable our ecosystem of partners to drive innovation and deliver a new class of products and experiences for the 5G era,” Cristiano Amon, president and CEO-elect at Qualcomm said in a statement.

Source Here: computerworld.com

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