Forget innovation, acquisition is the gateway for today’s companies when it comes to increasing its size. Large corporations who have massive financial reserves view this as the fastest and most convenient way to explore new territories. The pandemic year was no different to all this and saw some behemoth technology acquisitions of 2020.
While this looks easy, acquisitions can also lead to antitrust lawsuits, the best and most recent example of which was Google. In a lawsuit filed against Alphabet on October 20, (US) DOJ accused the company of building a search and advertising monopoly by practicing illegal agreements, forceful acquisitions, and massive payouts to multiple vendors.
Gobbling up another company has been the tech industry’s forte since the beginning. Companies like Disney have always been in the news for acquiring big names of the filmmaking industry year after year. Its last acquisition was 21st Century Fox in 2019, when the deal was struck at $71.3 billion.
So, which technology acquisitions of 2020 drew the most attention?
Here are the five biggest technology acquisitions of 2020, starting with the most recent.
Top 5 technology acquisitions of 2020
Salesforce & Slack
When: December 1
Reported value: $27.7 Billion
Marc Benioff, CEO, said in a statement, “This is a match made in heaven. Together, Salesforce and Slack will shape the future of enterprise software and transform the way everyone works in the all-digital, work-from-anywhere world. I’m thrilled to welcome Slack to the Salesforce Ohana once the transaction closes.”
The 8th largest tech M&A deal was struck between Salesforce and Slack on 1 December 2020. Both companies are industry experts offering SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) products that are used by companies at a global scale.
The jumbo-sized deal is the biggest acquisition of Salesforce to date. Last year, it acquired Tableau for $15.3 billion.
Stewart Butterfield, CEO and Cofounder, will continue to lead Slack.
Facebook & Kustomer
When: 30 November
Reported Value: $1 Billion
Facebook announced on a Monday morning the deal it was going to strike with Kustomer, a customer relationship management startup.
Based in New York, the company was founded in 2015, and has approximately raised $173.5 million. Kustomer is a customer service CRM platform that allows the management of an impeccable contact center.
By acquiring Kustomer, Facebook aims to conquer the customer services arena and at the same time, try its hands at a new revenue stream.
Adobe & Workfront
When: 10 November
Reported Value: $1.5 Billion
The sale of workflow management startup, Workfront to Adobe for $1.5 billion was announced on 10 November.
Workfront is a Utah-based software firm that was founded in 2001 by Scott Johnson.
Alex Shootman, Workfront CEO, describes the deal as, “We are barely scratching the surface of marketing and we could grow tremendously, just by having that great kind of integrated relationship.”
Suresh Vittal, VP of platform and product for Adobe Experience Cloud said on the occasion, “The new normal distributed marketing team, distributed experience delivery teams, people having to work remotely — we started to see new use cases emerge around the idea of work management, around the idea of content velocity, around the idea of providing compliance and governance capabilities so no asset escapes the organization, and it goes through this process of passing through creative and the marketing teams and getting out there and really representing your brand in the right way,”
The two companies already share 1000 common customers, some of which include big names like T-Mobile, The Home Depot, and Deloitte.
Nvidia & Arm
When: 13 September
Reported Value: $40 Billion
The deal brought together two chipmaking giants at a whopping $40 billion deal. Arms was previously sold to SoftBank in 2016 for $32 billion.
Jensen Huang, NVIDIA founder and CEO describes the acquisition as, “Simon Segars and his team at Arm have built an extraordinary company that is contributing to nearly every technology market in the world. Uniting NVIDIA’s AI computing capabilities with the vast ecosystem of Arm’s CPU, we can advance computing from the cloud, smartphones, PCs, self-driving cars and robotics, to edge IoT, and expand AI computing to every corner of the globe.”
Amazon & Zoox
When: 26 June
Reported Value: $1.2 Billion
Amazon has been reported to invest in a number of self-driving startups, but its first confirmed move was the acquisition of Zoox on 26 June for a reported sum of $1.2 billion.
Zoox develops zero-emissions, purpose-built vehicles that offer autonomous ride-hailing with the help of an end-to-end autonomy software stack.
Aicha Evans, Zoox CEO, said in a statement, “This acquisition solidifies Zoox’s impact on the autonomous driving industry. We have made great strides with our purpose-built approach to safe, autonomous mobility, and our exceptionally talented team working every day to realize that vision. We now have an even greater opportunity to realize a fully autonomous future.”