Technology Deals Level Off, But Private Equity Still Active in Sector
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Technology Deals Level Off, But Private Equity Still Active in Sector

Once bolstered by a series of mega-deals in excess of$10 billion, technology deal value declined in the third quarter and volume remained flat, according to the latest technology report, US Technology M&A Insights, from PwC.  Smaller IP deals and acquisitions continued while larger technology players remained on the acquisition sideline to focus on their internal operations after substantial consolidation in preceding quarters.

In the third quarter of 2012, PwC found that technology sector transaction volume was essentially flat with 59 deals closed compared to 58 deals closed in the previous quarter. While cumulative quarterly deal values have been at or exceeded $25 billion each quarter during the past two years, the total deal value for the third quarter in 2012 dropped to $20.5 billion, the result of fewer large acquisitions.  A year ago, deal activity in the third quarter of 2011 totaled 78 transactions with a cumulative deal value of$26.6 billion.

Six deals in excess of $1 billion closed during the third quarter of 2012 with a combined value of $12.3 billion, a 47 percent drop in ‘mega’ deal value from the second quarter.  Software and Internet segments continue to dominate technology M&A activity, accounting for 59 percent of deal volume and 78 percent of deal value in the third quarter, a 61 percent increase of total deal value from the second quarter.

According to PwC, private equity continues to be an active player in the technology market with more than three deals in excess of $1 billion announced during the quarter.  Furthermore, technology companies continue to seek alternative investments through joint ventures and smaller stakes to access key technologies.

The report highlights an underlying shift away from transactions in both hardware and traditional manufacturing-based technologies.  “As the larger technology companies evaluate their hardware portfolios and pursue potentially higher-margin software and service offerings, a wave of new acquisitions could be on the horizon as these traditional businesses change hands and new acquirers seek greater cost efficiencies,” said Rob Fisher, PwC’s U.S. technology industry transaction services leader.

“Technology majors are vying to become the dominant ecosystem for both the enterprise and consumers, driving smaller, IP-driven deals in the sector,” said Mr. Fisher. “With more technology businesses currently in evaluation mode and on the sidelines for acquisitions, we anticipate a potential resurgence of deal activity in the first part of 2013, especially as companies seek out the next wave of innovative technologies to build and buy.”

PwC’s US Technology M&A Insights report is a quarterly analysis based on data for transactions with a disclosed deal value greater than $15 million, as provided by Thomson Reuters through September 30, 2012, and supplemented by additional independent research.  Information related to previous periods is updated periodically based on new data collected by Thomson Reuters for deals closed during previous periods but not reflected in previous data sets.

© 2012 PEPD • Private Equity’s Leading News Magazine • 11-9-12

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