The first half of 2022 was one of the busiest on record for M&A activity, according to risk management advisor Willis Towers Watson: Only 2021 and 2015 were busier. But deals are taking longer to close, on average, and are not always beneficial to buyers, who underperformed the wider stock market by 4.8 percentage points, WTW said.
That’s not stopping enterprise software and service providers, though: They are continuing to buy their way into new markets and to acquire new capabilities rather than develop them in house.
For CIOs, these deals can disrupt strategic rollouts, spell a need to pivot to a new solution, mean the potential sunsetting of essential technology, provide new opportunities to leverage newly synergized systems, and be a bellwether of further shifts to come in the IT landscape. Keeping on top of activity in this area can help your company make the most of emerging opportunities and steer clear of issues that often arise when vendors combine.
Here CIO.com rounds up of some of the most significant tech M&As of recent months that could impact IT.
IBM observes gap in its portfolio, buys Databand.ai
IBM has acquired Israeli data observability specialist Databand.ai to beef up its IT operations performance management portfolio alongside Instana APM and IBM Watson Studio. Since CEO Arvind Krishna took over in April 2020, IBM has been pursuing a strategy of making small acquisitions — over 25 of them so far — to fill gaps in its offerings.
Ensono adds AndPlus to portfolio
Managed solutions provider Ensono has bought AndPlus, a data engineering firm, continuing a run of acquisitions of small cloud consulting companies: In January, it snapped up ExperSolve, which specializes in moving and modernizing mainframe applications, and last year bought Amido. Ensono is owned by KKR, the owner of BMC Software.
IFS adds Ultimo to its EAM offering
IFS has expanded the enterprise asset management (EAM) capabilities of its ERP platform with the acquisition of Dutch software vendor Ultimo. IFS will continue to offer Ultimo’s software as a stand-alone solution.
ParkourSC adds IoT to SCM
ParkourSC, a Silicon Valley supply chain software company backed by Intel Capital, has bought IoT networking company Qopper, which was founded by ParkourSC CTO Alok Bhanot.
Zendesk goes private at knock-down price
CRM vendor Zendesk has agreed to be acquired by investment firms Hellman & Friedman and Permira. The two investors will pay around $10.2 billion to take Zendesk private, they announced on June 24. It’s a bargain for Permira and H&F, which also own stakes in cloud customer contact center vendor Genesys: In February, as part of a consortium of bidders, they offered $17 billion for Zendesk, which turned them down saying the offer undervalued the company. At around that time, Zendesk abandoned plans to buy Momentive Global (formerly Survey Monkey) for around $4 billion.
IBM to buy Randori
IBM has bought Randori, a specialist in attack surface management and offensive cybersecurity. It’s Big Blue’s fourth acquisition this year, after buying cloud consultants Neudesic and Sentaca in February, and environmental performance management company Envizi in January.
ServiceNow to buy Hitch Works
ServiceNow has agreed to buy skills mapping company Hitch Works, with the goal of helping its customers fill talent gaps through staff training.
ICF cements links with government health agencies
Digital transformation consulting company ICF is adding to the services it offers US government clients with the acquisition of SemanticBits, a health services software provider. Late last year it also bought health analytics vendor Enterprise Science and Computing (ESAC) and service provider Creative Systems and Consulting, both of which serve US federal agencies.
Epicor adds EDI to its ERP platform with Data Interchange buy
Epicor continues to expand its ERP platform capabilities through acquisition. On June 7, it bought UK-based Data Interchange, the operator of a global EDI network and developer of software for order processing and EDI mapping.
ScanMarket joins Unit4
SaaS ERP vendor Unit4 has bought source-to-contract cloud software vendor ScanMarket to beef up its source-to-pay offering to midmarket service industry customers.
McKinsey buys data architecture and engineering company
McKinsey doesn’t just advise on mergers and acquisitions; it also makes them. A case in point: Its June 1 purchase of Caserta, the company that built its internal knowledge management platform. McKinsey expects the acquisition to benefit its data transformation work for its clients.
Instaclustr continues acquisitive streak for NetApps
NetApps closed its acquisition of Instaclustr on May 24. The service provider supporting open-source database, pipeline, and workflow applications in the cloud will join the Spot by NetApp portfolio, the collection of SaaS tools built around the cloud management and cost optimization company NetApp bought earlier in 2022.
Panasonic plans IPO of recent acquisition Blue Yonder
Barely a year after buying Blue Yonder, a vendor of supply-chain management software as a service, Panasonic is looking to sell it again as it pursues a new strategic direction. Panasonic said in mid-May that it will combine Blue Yonder with its Gemba Process Innovation activities and seek a stock exchange listing for the new entity. It has not set a timetable for the sale.
Augury adds process intelligence to machine health offering
Augury, an industrial IoT vendor specializing in monitoring machine health, has paid over $100 million for process intelligence vendor Seebo. Augury plans to combine the two companies’ AI-based tools to help manufacturing companies to balance quality and throughput with energy consumption, emissions, and waste.
SAP service providers join forces
Codestone Group has bought Clarivos. The two provide services around SAP’s ERP, analytics, and enterprise performance management (EPM) tools.
Perforce Software buys Puppet
Perforce Software, a privately held provider of software development tools, has agreed to buy the infrastructure automation software platform Puppet. Perforce already owns development tools such as Helix and the testing tools, including Perfecto and BlazeMeter.
Infosys buys oddity for digital marketing capabilities
The appetite of Indian IT service companies for European acquisitions is still unsated. Infosys has bought oddity, a German provider of digital marketing services that also has offices in Taipei and Shanghai. Infosys will fold oddity into Wongdoody, the US consumer insights agency it bought in 2018.
Microsoft buys Minit to optimize process automation
Microsoft has bought Minit, a developer of process mining software, to help its customers optimize business processes across the enterprise, on and off Microsoft Power Platform. The acquisition will help it extract process data from enterprise systems such as Oracle, SAP, ServiceNow, and Salesforce to identify process bottlenecks that can be optimized or automated.
NTT Data adds Vectorform to service portfolio
Global IT services giant NTT Data has bought another sliver of market share and added some new capabilities with its acquisition of Vectorform, an 80-person digital transformation consultancy based in Detroit. With Vectorform, NTT Data is looking to grow its customer experience and product development services across industries.
Celonis buys Process Analytics Factory
Process mining giant Celonis has snapped up Process Analytics Factory, a small German company specializing in process optimization on Microsoft’s platforms. Celonis started out helping enterprises optimize SAP workloads, and now its acquisition of the developer of PAFnow will help it broaden its access to the Power BI and Power Platform markets.
Equinix buys West African data center company for $320 million
Global data center operator Equinix expanded its capability and connectivity in West Africa in early April with the $320 million acquisition of MainOne, which offers services in Ghana, Nigeria, and Côte d’Ivoire. MainOne has just opened its fourth data center, in Lagos.
Nvidia buys block storage software developer Excelero
With $40 billion in spare cash to spend after its bid for chip designer Arm fell through, Nvidia is turning to smaller acquisitions to build its capabilities. In early March it announced its second of 2022, Excelero, which develops software for securing and accelerating arrays of flash storage for use in enterprise high-performance computing.
NetApp buys Fylamynt for cloud ops automation
NetApp added some new functionality to its portfolio of cloud management tools in late February with the acquisition of Fylamynt, a young low-code cloud ops automation company. Its aim is to help customers automate the deployment of Spot by NetApp services.
Vendr buys SaaS platform Blissfully to simplify buying SaaS
SaaS vendor management platform Vendr is buying SaaS management platform vendor Blissfully. Vendr aims to offer finance and procurement teams savings on the purchase of SaaS services, while Blissfully helps enterprises identify what software they own and where they can save money.
Test automation: Tricentis buys Testim
Software test automation vendor Tricentis has bought Testim, the developer of an AI-based SaaS test automation platform, to expand its continuous testing solutions. Tricentis hopes Testim’s platform will make it easier for customers to create tests that scale and change with their software.
Phenom pairs with Tandemploy on talent experience management
HR technology company Phenom has snapped up another talent experience management company. This time it’s the German Tandemploy, which Phenom hopes will help it better recommend pairings among peers, mentors, project leaders, and subject matter experts.
Atlassian buys Percept.ai
Atlassian has acquired chatbot developer Percept AI and plans to add its virtual agent technology to its Jira Service Management IT support tool. The idea is that it will automate the gathering of necessary context before passing them to human operators to help resolve cases faster. It’s Atlassian’s sixth ITSM acquisition in four years.
Microsoft to buy Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion
Microsoft has agreed to buy games developer Activision Blizzard, it said on Jan. 18, 2022. The price tag, a whopping $68.7 billion, dwarfs even the $19.7 billion Microsoft paid for Nuance Communications last year or the $26.2 billion it paid for LinkedIn in 2018.
Activision Blizzard’s apps are not typically authorized on enterprise networks, but there’s a chance its technology for creating and animating virtual worlds could make it into the workplace. Microsoft said the acquisition will give it the building blocks for the metaverse — a term for a virtual reality space where people interact for purposes of work or entertainment.
If so, that could make the virtual office a more pleasant sight than the blurred backgrounds and disembodied heads we see in Teams today — and prompt a wave of hardware refreshes to support the additional graphics workload.
Lansweeper acquires UMAknow
IT asset management platform Lansweeper has acquired UMAknow, the developer of Cloudockit. As Lansweeper scans on-premises computing environments, Cloudockit compiles architecture diagrams and documents users’ assets in the cloud.
Precisely buys PlaceIQ
Data integrity specialist Precisely kicked off 2022 by buying PlaceIQ, a provider of location-based consumer data. It’s Precisely’s fifth acquisition since itself changing ownership last March. Other purchases include weather data provider Anchor Point and MDM software vendor Winshuttle.
Aptean jets into Austrian ERP market
Continuing along its flight path of acquiring small regional or industry-specific ERP vendors, Aptean has bought Austrian software vendor JET ERP, its fourth recent acquisition in the country.
Indian IT services companies acquire near-shoring operations in Europe
Indian IT services provider Tech Mahindra is expanding its offering to insurance, reinsurance, and financial firms with the acquisition of Com Tec Co IT, a custom software developer with 700 staff in Latvia and Belarus skilled in modern technologies, including AI, ML, and devsecops, for €310 million, while another Indian company, HCL Technologies, has acquired Starschema, a Hungarian data- and software-engineering service provider with offices in Budapest and Arlington, Va.
Sage swallows Brightpearl
Midmarket ERP vendor Sage closed its acquisition of Brightpearl on Jan. 18. It plans to integrate Brightpearl’s e-commerce management software with its Intacct cloud-based financial applications.
Nvidia buys Bright Computing
With its giant bid for microprocessor designer ARM now abandoned, Nvidia is turning to smaller deals to bolster its capabilities. In early January, it bought Bright Computing, a developer of software for managing the high-performance computing clusters that Nvidia’s chips are used in when they’re not mining cryptocurrencies or rendering games.
Oracle buys part of Verenia’s CPQ business
Oracle has acquired Verenia’s NetSuite-based configure-price-quote business in order to add native CPQ functionality to NetSuite. Verenia retains its non-NetSuite product lines.