Enterprise software lit up by ‘eye-catching’ M&A deals in 2017, says Hampleton Partners

It’s a simple proposition for traditional companies in today’s tech-heavy marketplace: assess the prospects of technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, the Internet of Things and more, or be left behind.

That is the verdict of mergers and acquisitions advisor Hampleton Partners in its latest report focusing on the tech M&A outlook up until 2020.

Back in August, the company’s assessment was that M&A for the Internet of Things was going at a ‘steady’ pace, with the primary acquirers being Verizon, ARM, and Intel. The verdict today is that 2018 ‘may be a good year for acquisitions’, albeit sounding a note of caution around the risks of a market correction.

When it came to enterprise software and software as a service (SaaS), the figures look promising. Hampleton argues that there were a series of ‘eye-catching’ deals in the industry, with vertical applications providing the most transactions during the second half of 2017, at 147. ERP apps also scored highly with 141 transactions, ahead of information management (58) and BI and customer analytics (47).

Among the more intriguing acquisitions the industry has seen in the latter half of last year include VMware’s buying of SD-WAN provider VeloCloud in November; Rackspace acquiring managed services firm Datapipe in September; and Microsoft buying Cloudyn, a cloud management provider, in June. The latter appeared to be a particularly hot area, with Gartner research director Mindy Cancila saying in an article at the time that ‘interest in cloud management tools [was] very high.’

The past few months have seen acquisitions around a couple of key trends; containers – Red Hat buying CoreOS – and multi-cloud, with Cisco acquiring Cmpute.io.

Hampleton looked at various industries, with automotive technology – a key component of the Internet of Things – having a positive outlook. The report argues that the second half of 2017 was stable in the industry, with an active 2018 anticipated. David Riemenschneider, Hampleton Partners director, added that 2018-19 will likely be the ‘peak’ of the autotech M&A boom.

You can read the full report here (email required).