In 2019, the M&A market is proving to be another active year for many technology firms after a record-setting 2018. Building off more than a decade of growth, it is nice to see the continued upward trend in the face of economic uncertainty and public market volatility.

The tech sector is quickly evolving with new start-ups popping up frequently. Although mergers and acquisitions have helped some small firms make the most of the resources of a bigger acquirer or parent. Many tech giants have also been using this strategy together with modern m&a platforms successfully to diversify their portfolio while keeping competition at bay. This shows that tech giants are fond of scooping up other companies in massive M&A deals.

Here are some of the biggest M&A deals in the tech sector

1. Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn

In 2016, Microsoft snapped up LinkedIn for a staggering $26.2 billion. Microsoft had already started enacting plans to integrate the popular social network for professionals with Office 365 by the time the deal closed in late 2016. The deal was priced at $196 per share. This M&A deal was unanimously approved by the boards of both companies.

So far, LinkedIn under Microsoft is still quite young, and Microsoft has let the professional networking site to remain largely independent. This was Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's first major acquisition since he took over as CEO. The big move also helped bring LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman into the fold as an important Microsoft board member, while giving Microsoft a much stronger footing in Silicon Valley.

By consolidating more than 450 million LinkedIn profiles into its diverse service offerings, Microsoft now has access to information detailing how people use products, such as Office 365, Skype, and email.

2. IBM bought Red Hat

IBM purchased an open-source software company Red Hat for $34 billion in 2018, making it the largest M&A deal involving an open-source company. The enterprise software company is based in North Carolina provides open-source enterprise software to companies.

Red Hat has a diverse portfolio of open-source software, which includes it's Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) distribution, OpenStack hybrid cloud platform, JBoss enterprise application platform, and its popular OpenShift container service that produced almost $3 billion in revenue in 2017.

The enterprise software company will help boost IBM in the expanding market for “hybrid cloud,” where organizations run important business software in hosted environments from notable cloud providers, such as Amazon and Microsoft, and in their local data centers. This was the third-largest tech merger in the US and IBM’s largest acquisition.

3. Salesforce acquired Mulesoft for $6.5 billion

Salesforce paid $6.5 billion in a stock and cash deal for business software company MuleSoft, marking the most significant acquisition in its history. The deal closed in 2018. Mulesoft makes unique software that helps organizations stitch together several different cloud services.

Salesforce has used Mulesoft’s products to help customers in syncing data across applications located in different places, which include on-premises data centers and various cloud services.

Salesforce has been trying aggressively to grow and expand from its roots in high-quality sales software by buying companies specializing in other products. For example, Salesforce also acquired Israel-based cloud AI company, Datorama, for over $800 million, combining their marketing and sales software with the incredible power of the Marketing Cloud.

4. SoftBank bought ARM for $31.4 Billion

In September 2016, Japanese tech behemoth and Sprint owner SoftBank completed the most expensive acquisition of a European tech company when it acquired UK-based chip designer ARM for 31.4 billion. It is worth mentioning that the majority of tablets and smartphones, as well as a variety of other smart devices from self-driving cars to self-learning thermostats, use ARM technology. SoftBank has leveraged this deal to strengthen its internet of things (IoT) plans.

Since this acquisition, ARM has seen immense growth. After all, its technology and designs have been used in almost everything from Apple and Samsung to Nvidia and HTC devices. Besides, SoftBank has leveraged ARM's various chip licenses into several new use cases as the giant unveils new artificial intelligence chips and angles to cut into the market shares of companies, like Qualcomm, and Intel.

5. Facebook scooped up WhatsApp

Facebook purchased messaging app WhatsApp for a sum of $22 billion in 2014. Originally worth $16 billion in 2014, the acquisition price tag ballooned to an enormous $22 billion by October 2014 when the acquisition deal closed because of the soaring price of the Facebook stock at the time.

WhatsApp is Facebook's largest acquisition by far, and one of the largest Silicon Valley has ever seen. It’s over twenty times bigger than Facebook’s Instagram acquisition, which made quite a splash in 2012.

6. Apple snagged Beats

Apple's deal to acquire Beats in 2014 is the most expensive acquisition in Apple's history. Apple’s decision to invest in Beats Audio is smart for some obvious reasons. Beats has not only created an innovative line of premium headphones as an audio company, but the company has also marketed its products well and developed a great subscription streaming service to compete with Spotify.

It is also worth noting that Beats Music has immense potential to enhance Apple’s streaming service and iTunes Radio, as well as to provide quality audio hardware that can easily complement Mac and iOS devices. Apple was also smart to realize that it had iTunes and its huge catalog of digital music, but the iPod generation was finally coming to an end. The company needed an on-demand subscription service to keep pace with the industry's pivot, and instead of building its own, it decided to purchase one.

7. Symantec bought Veritas Software

Security company Symantec paid $13.5 billion to purchase data storage provider Veritas Software in 2004. Symantec is one of the biggest names in computer and internet security. It makes, among other important products, the Norton security software that millions of PC users throughout the world rely on to identify and keep Internet viruses at bay.

On the other hand, mainly corporations use Veritas’ software for managing and protecting data stored on computer servers.

Author's Bio: 

Author’s Bio: Lori Wade is a writer who is interested in a wide range of spheres from business to entrepreneurship and new technologies. If you are interested in M&A or virtual data room industry, you can find her on Twitter  & LinkedIn or find her on other social media. Read and take over Lori’s useful insights!