Welcome to Mergermarket's Technology Forum
Technology has recorded the highest M&A volume of all industries in North America during 2017. And, with an average of 3.17 deals executed per day in 2017 (compared to 2.76 deals per day in 2016), it comfortably beat 2016's totals, 1156 vs. 1008 transactions. 2017 finished strong as Cisco's USD 1.7bn deal for cloud-based communications software maker BroadSoft, summed up the sector's activity with a flurry of deal making and marking Cisco's 10th acquisition of the year.
Along with strong deal counts, the technology M&A dealmaking space has also been gripped by a number of recent trends. Management teams from legacy corporations have become a competitive factor in tech acquisitions, driving up valuations and thinning the field of available targets, such as cloud computing vendors. Investors have also sought out alternative liquidity events as the IPO market remains challenged, further driving up valuations and exit multiples.
Join the Mergermarket team and esteemed panelists for expert insights into the motivations and anxieties that are shaping technology M&A.
Registration and Light Refreshments
M&A in the Valley
Technology M&A has experienced annual deal volume growth of near 2% since 2007, with 2017 totals reaching a decade high of 1156 transactions. While tech deals have become more plentiful, the corporate shift to cloud computing has driven many deals the last few years, such as Cisco Systems’ USD 3.7bn acquisition of AppDynamics. Buyers are willing to offer top dollar for promising technology firms, paying a weighted average of 19.7 EBITDA - higher than the total market average of 17.42 in 2017, according to New York University Stern School of Business. Among all sectors in the economy, retail e-commerce companies can fetch the highest average EV/EBITDA multiple of 32.47 (based on a sample of 61 companies in 2017). But for how much longer can dealmakers sustain those multiples?
Delegates will listen to panelists discuss the overall drivers and challenges found behind Silicon Valley M&A, including:
- What are the opportunities in latest cutting-edge technologies such as lnternet of Things, artificial intelligence, machine learning, virtual reality, enterprise software, cybersecurity and others? Which applications are investors pouring money into?
- What is cloud computing's prospects over next several years and how much further can it drive M&A?
- Are we beginning to see a pull-back in unicorn valuations?
- How concerned should investors and lenders be about the growth in tech companies’ balance sheet leverage?
- How will protectionism, new tech giants and Chinese-based firms shape dealmaking in North America?
- An outlook on divestitures and bolt-on acquisitions of tech firms.
Coffee Networking Break
Technological Convergence: How Hungry Are Old Industries for Technological Innovation?
The rise of Amazon, Facebook, Google and Netflix has exerted tremendous competitive pressures on legacy industries, sparking a new era in dealmaking. In a recent report, authors noted that a sharp and continuous increase in M&A deal numbers are done with the primary purpose of acquiring capabilities or technologies across key disruptive innovation categories.
Delegates will have an opportunity to listen to panelists discuss and debate how traditional firms are acquiring and utilizing technology to compete in the 21st Century, covering issues such as:
- How effectively have legacy firms utilized acquired cloud services and collaborative work models to speed up development and delivery of technology and automation to add business value?
- What tech applications will traditional retail and B2C businesses look to invest in over next several years?
- What IT-specific tech applications/systems will be sought by traditional companies to effect efficiencies within finance and human resources departments?
- How have enterprise software opportunities changed in the past 12 months and what are the sector's mid-term prospects?
How IPO Market Activity is Affecting Investors’ Search for Liquidity
While 2017 was a banner year in exits for corporate, private equity and venture capital investors; the IPO market remained challenged presenting investors with liquidity issues. As IPO listings (39 listings in 2017) shrunk by a geometric rate of roughly -1.5% over the last five years, VC investors are seeking liquidity sometimes through positioning their portfolio companies as possible bolt-on acquisition candidates for big tech incumbents and also through private-to-private sales, which grew at geometric rate of 9% over the same period of time (387 transactions in 2017). Moreover, VCs and investors are further delaying their portfolio companies' initial public offering because of various market conditions, which has incentivized notable unicorn hunters such as T. Rowe Price, Goldman Sachs and Fidelity Investments, who usually focus on public equities, to cross over into later-stage private-market investing.
Panelists will discuss where and how institutional investors are positioning themselves for liquidity events, addressing topics that include:
- When will IPO filings bounce back?
- What factors have contributed to a sluggish listing environment and what will it take to overcome those obstacles?
- How are institutional investors and valuations affecting the search for liquidity?
* Agenda is preliminary and subject to change.