2008 Software M&A: Year in Review
Unlike the Internet M&A space, the public software company M&A market was actually fairly robust in 2008 with 33 deals worth over $40BN closing. That's actually up from 2007 when 28 deals worth $18.5BN closed. That said, most of the increase has to do with several large, complex deals announced in 2007, including Nokia's purchase of Navteq and TomTom's purchase of Teleatlas, taking almost a year to close, but it remains that despite the terrible market, public software company was actually fairly robust in 2008.
2008 continues the long term trend of increased public software company M&A. As the graph below makes clear, software M&A has been in a solid uptrend since 2004.
As outlined initially in a post several years ago on the incredibly shirking software industry there are a number of trends driving increasd M&A in the software space and these trends appear to accelerating. The total number of public software companies decreased 11.5% in 2008 vs. 11.2% in 2007 and 11.1% in 2006. Total market cap of the software sector is now $618 BN, down 25% from 12/31/03. Good lord.
One interesting observation is that this consolidation does not appear to be driven from the "top down". Despite significant M&A activity on the part of the "Big Four" software companies (Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, and SAP) over the past five years, their share of the software sector's market cap has actually decreased from 70% to 68% over the past 5 years. I wouldn't have believed them if somebody told me this before today, but it's true. Granted, most of this decrease has to do with a 27% decline in Microsoft's market cap in the last 5 years (16% if you exclude their $3 special dividend). Of the Big Four only Oracle has seen it's share price and market cap increase in the last 5 years. What this suggests is that consolidation within the software industry is taking place at all levels and that the largest software companies are ultimately not really taking share from the market. Pretty much counter intuative to conventional wisdom within the software space, but right now that's what the numbers say.
Click on this link for a complete list of all the public company software M&A deals in 2008.
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