Legal Technology News
February 27, 2013
New Core of Mobile, Social, Analytics and Security to Drive 2013 Technology Deals Outlook, According to PwC US
While the pace and value of technology sector deals are expected to mimic that of 2012, the outlook for 2013 technology deals will focus on the new core of mobile, social, analytics and security, according to PwC’s US Technology M&A Insights 2012 Year in Review and 2013 Outlook report released yesterday.
As technology companies continue to focus on core businesses, digest strategic acquisitions of the last decade, and work to scale their already acquired offerings, PwC anticipates a similarly subdued deal environment in 2013. Furthermore, private equity buyers are expected to continue to take on a more prominent role combined with a resurgence of technology divestitures.
“The pressure of disruptive innovation has technology companies constantly seeking the next competitive differentiator, which requires investing in new talent, new technologies, R&D and M&A as a means to all three,” said Rob Fisher, PwC’s US technology deals leader. “With technology corporate cash balances continuing to grow and a large amount of capital held by private equity funds waiting to be deployed, 2013 could prove to be an important year for technology deals and divestitures.”
According to M&A Insights, cumulative technology deal value for 2012 closed at $103.4 billion, a decrease of 17 percent from 2011. Economic and political uncertainty played their part in driving down deal volumes, which decreased 19 percent, ending the year at 249 closed transactions, compared to 308 deals closed in 2011.
PwC reveals that U.S. buyers focused inward amid domestic economic softness and global uncertainty. Domestic transactions comprised 71 percent of deal volume and 76 percent of deal value in 2012, compared to 62 percent of deal volume and 67 percent of deal value in 2011.
The report finds that technology deals continue to shift away from hardware-focused to software and Internet transactions, largely as a result of a marked industry focus on cloud-based technologies.
• Software and Internet deals represented 57 percent of transactions closed in 2012. Cumulative value for software and Internet deals represented 53 percent of total 2012 deal value, an increase from 51 percent in 2011.
• The hardware sector showed mixed results, with the volume of transactions declining 15 percent but cumulative deal value increasing by 24 percent.
• The semiconductor sector remained challenged and represented a mere 8 percent of transaction volume (32 deals) and cumulative deal value of $8.1 billion, a 68 percent drop from 2011.
• Despite an economy that’s largely moving from manufacturing to services, IT services transactions have continued to decline. In 2012, IT services transaction volume and value decreased 39 percent and 69 percent, respectively, resulting in 31 deals closed and less than $6 billion in deal value.
Private equity deals comprised 34 percent of total technology deals with disclosed values in 2012 compared to less than 25 percent in 2011. Software and Internet transactions with private equity participation comprised 63 percent of volume and 76 percent of value in 2012, a significant shift from the previous year, which saw volume and value evenly spread across the five tech sectors tracked.
“With some of the lowest credit rates in recent history and significant investment reserves waiting on the side-lines, tech-focused private equity firms are well-positioned to acquire technology businesses in 2013,” said Fisher.
Resurgence in Divestitures
As overall M&A activity declined, PwC found that divestiture transactions increased 59 percent in 2012 to near 2010 levels with 311 divestitures recorded in 2012 compared to 201 in 2o11. The rise in divestiture activity in the latter half of 2011 continued into 2012 resulting in at least 19 divestitures, and as high as 35, for each month of 2012.
Technology divestitures as a percent of total technology M&A volume rose from a low of 4 percent in the first quarter of 2011 to 22 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Cumulative divestiture deal value for transactions reached $31.2 billion in 2012 compared to $18.5 billion in 2011, an increase of 95 percent. The top 10 divestitures of 2012 represented nearly 60 percent of this value, a decrease from 2011, when 80 percent of total disclosed deal value was represented by the top 10 divestitures.
“After essentially a decade long industry consolidation, technology companies are poised to engage in what could be a significant resurgence in divestiture activity as they shed lackluster acquisitions and unwanted assets as a result of strategic realignment and adjustments to adapt to today’s shifting technological landscape,” added Fisher.
The report outlines the following drivers as catalysts for 2013 technology deals:
• Cloud powered, software-defined - Software-defined businesses are now looking to disrupt data networking and other traditionally hardware-based solutions, making them likely deal makers or targets.
• Mobile reach continues unabated - Unprecedented activity in mobile app development, start-up creation, and subsequent M&A activity as a means to work new solutions into established portfolios.
• The power of social and local - Continued innovation in the retail and consumer industries, social discovery applications, and health care capabilities among many others.
• Bigger focus on big data analytics – 2013 could be the year when big data moves from differentiator to cost of doing business as more companies find compelling ways to extract insights from data for more profitable returns. While deal activity is already happening, expect to see continued M&A activity on big data.
• Security a key concern - With the mobile proliferation, melding of enterprise and personal data, and increasing adoption of cloud services and social networks, the risk of security breaches and loss of privacy has never been higher. Innovation will continue to take place in security and will drive further deal activity.
• Technology core to all industries - Increasingly, non-technology businesses are either being disrupted by new technology-based delivery models, or they are finding better ways to leverage technology to engage customers. Both technology companies and non-technology companies are acquiring expertise, and one another, to keep pace.
• The global fallout of patent wars - Companies with strong patent portfolios continue to be likely targets for future acquisitions, as modern competitive pressures force businesses to acquire and defend intellectual property rights.
• Mobile payments continue to evolve - With mobile payments and mobile wallet adoption taking hold in 2013, expect consolidation in the market given a host of overlapping products and services.
PwC’s US technology M&A Insights is a quarterly analysis based on data for transactions with a disclosed deal value greater than $15 million, as provided by Thomson Reuters through December 31, 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.
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