by Brenon Daly
For our final M&A Insight of 2019, we’re going to look back on the year of dealmaking in the tech industry. Or rather, we’re going to have the pros do it, and tell us what stood out for them.
In our just closed 451 Research Tech Corporate Development Outlook survey, among our other questions to dealmakers, we asked them to look at the handiwork of their peers around the tech industry, and select what they thought was the most significant transaction of the year. (Corporate buyers who filled in our 13th annual survey have already received full responses, plus the context for the key forecasts for what’s coming in tech M&A in 2020. 451 Research subscribers will have to wait until the report is published in early January to get the wisdom of the crowds.)
Out of the more than 3,600 tech transactions we have in our 451 Research M&A KnowledgeBase for 2019, our survey respondents handed this year’s Golden Tombstone to Salesforce‘s $15.5bn purchase of data analytics vendor Tableau Software. The deal, which is the year’s largest software transaction and fifth-biggest tech acquisition overall, got twice as many votes as the runner-up – VMware’s $2.1bn reach for security company Carbon Black.
On the other side, we asked which significant tech transaction announced in 2019 they think will struggle to generate the hoped-for returns. Corporate buyers selected Broadcom’s $10.7bn pickup of Symantec’s faded enterprise security business as the most likely blockbuster to bust. The chipmaker-turned-enterprise-software-vendor paid a relatively rich 4.5x trailing sales for a business that hadn’t grown in three years. Plus, there’s the sheer scale of the transaction, which is the largest-ever information security acquisition, equaling an entire year’s worth of spend in the sector in some years.
With that, we will be unplugging for a bit to enjoy the holidays. Our next M&A sendout will be hitting your inbox on Thursday, January 2. In the meantime, we wish all of you peace and happiness for the holiday season, and nothing but accretive transactions in the coming year.