Global technology M&A value grows 58% but deal volume falls 12% year-on-year in Q1 2013

- Smart mobility drives deal making in Q1 2013, along with social networking, SaaS and big data analytics

- Gradually improving macroeconomic conditions, confidence and stock market valuations point toward steady increases in activity

May 21, 2013, 00:01 ET from Ernst & Young LLP

NEW YORK, May 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The aggregate value of all disclosed value deals grew 58% year-on-year (YOY) to US$36.4b, according to Ernst & Young's Global technology M&A update: January – March 2013. Deal volume fell 12% YOY and 5% compared with the previous quarter to 661 deals. Aggregate disclosed value would have fallen by 48% if not for a single announced technology transaction valued at US$24.4b (Silver Lake Partners and Dell Inc. as announced on Feb. 5, 2013).

However, even the large deal values reflected the profound challenges of transforming a strong, well-established company to align with the five disruptive innovation "megatrends" – smart mobility, cloud computing, social networking, big data analytics and accelerated adaptation. The report found that these megatrends influenced the microcosm of global technology M&A's in Q113, as companies competed for market share and key technologies.

Corporate and private equity (PE) volume declined 12% and 13% YOY, respectively. However, PE volume increased 31% compared with the previous quarter to 46 deals, while corporate declined for the second consecutive quarter, by 7% to 615 deals.

Joe Steger, Ernst & Young's Global Technology Industry, Transaction Advisory Services Leader, says:

"Macroeconomic pressures continued to hold down global technology M&A activity in Q113. We see gradual improvement in macroeconomic uncertainty and a near-term narrowing of valuation gaps as positive signs. However, there is still a lack of confidence around doing large deals in the current economic conditions."

The report identifies the following deal drivers:

  • Mobile apps drive many small deals: There were nearly 60 deals in Q113 for mobile applications or related development technology. Most were small or had non-disclosed values. These deals typically involved software that gathers users' reviews on a topic (food, restaurants, movies, travel destinations, etc), then analyzes the content and makes recommendations to others, or both.
  • Average deal value falls sharply: Concerns over conducting large transformative deals dominated the M&A landscape in Q113. Excluding the announced deal to take Dell private valued at US$24.4b, average value would be US$103m, down 36% YOY and 47% respectively.
  • Megatrends act together to transform industries: Social-cloud and big data analytics technologies began acting together to transform entire industries. For example, Q113 saw dozens of deals for mobile apps that generate social-network-based recommendations for users. In the background there were many deals for technologies to help network operators manage better the associated data traffic deluge. In the middle were e-payment or advertising and marketing deals. Sprinkled throughout were deals for big data analytics technologies to improve the accuracy of recommendations, the optimization of advertising and marketing campaigns and the efficiency of data networks.

Cross-border deals continue to decline

Although cross-border deal volume declined 8% YOY to 216 deals in Q113 (from 236 in Q112), it has been falling at roughly the same pace as in-border volume. But at US$3.2b, cross-border aggregate value plunged 71% YOY to its lowest level since Q1'09. And at US$65m per deal, cross-border average value fell 68% YOY in Q113 from US$204m in Q112. Both values fell far faster than their all-deal equivalents.

Regional snapshot

Driven by the largest announced transaction in Q113, buyers in the Americas acquired an even greater-than-usual share of global aggregate value in Q113. Excluding that deal, America's volume and aggregate value declined YOY, but the region's buyers still acquired the majority of global transaction volume and value. The cloud/software as a service (SaaS) megatrend was the biggest deal driver, but also driving significant deals were e-payment processing, social networking, big data analytics, smart mobility and healthcare information technology.

Looking ahead: mixed signals for technology M&A with possible recovery in late 2013

While macroeconomic uncertainty will continue for the foreseeable future, there are signs of gradual improvement. Strong stock performance so far in 2013 suggests confidence in economic improvement.

An overwhelming majority of technology M&A growth will continue to be captured by technology products and services related to the five transformative technology megatrends. Technology and non-technology companies are being driven to buy companies in these megatrends to help transform themselves to take advantage of growth opportunities. M&A growth in legacy products and services is virtually non-existent or negative.

"Gradually improving macroeconomic conditions, improved confidence, increased stock market valuations and the need for companies to respond to the transformative impact of the five megatrends - smart mobility, cloud/SaaS, social networking, big data analytics and accelerated adaptation, all point to a steady, gradual increase in technology M&A activity over the next several quarters," concludes Steger.

Notes to editors

About the report
Global technology M&A update: January-March 2013 is based on Ernst & Young's analysis of The 451 Group M&A Knowledgebase data for 2012 and 2013. Deal activity and valuations may fluctuate slightly based on the date the database is accessed.  The full report is available at

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Silver Lakes Partners/Michael Dell announced intent to acquire Dell Inc. Deal pending. Ernst & Young analysis of The 451 Group Research M&A Knowledgebase, accessed 5 April 2013

SOURCE Ernst & Young LLP