The 10 Biggest Tech Acquisitions Of 2014 (So Far)

Astronomical Acquisitions

Companies have been on a shopping spree so far in 2014, and are sparing no expense to grow their businesses. As a whole, technology mergers and acquisitions in the first half of 2014 are up 122 percent over the year before, according to Mergermarket. From Dimension Data's Nexus acquisition, to Lenovo's x86 and Motorola Mobility buys, to major telecom mergers, it's been an exciting year so far for technology acquisitions.

Take a look back at 10 of the biggest blockbuster acquisitions of 2014 so far.

Dimension Data Acquires Nexus

In an acquisition that brought together two solution provider powerhouses, Dimension Data, No. 13 on CRN's Solution Provider 500 list, revealed it had acquired Nexus, No. 78 on CRN's 2013 SP500 and No. 80 on CRN's Fast Growth 150 list, for an undisclosed amount. Dimension Data CEO Mark Slaga told CRN at the time that the $6 billion global solution provider was "shaking up the channel community" with the deal, shifting the balance of power for U.S. Cisco solution providers and growing Dimension Data's U.S. presence by 40 percent.

Nexus wasn't Dimension Data's only acquisition of the year. In February, it acquired European solution provider NextiraOne and in May acquired cloud video managed services business Teliris.

Level 3 Buys TW Telecom

In a blockbuster $5.7 billion acquisition deal, Level 3 Communications said in June that it planned to acquire business Ethernet provider TW Telecom. After the deal, the combined companies would be worth an estimated $25 billion. Level 3, a global Internet provider with data, voice and content delivery services, said at the time that the acquisition would provide the Broomfield, Colo.-based company with the benefits of TW Telecom's metropolitan footprint as well as higher-quality services, with Level 3 bringing its global footprint to the table.

FireEye Buys Mandiant

To kick off the new year, FireEye unveiled its $1 billion acquisition of Mandiant, an Alexandria, Va.-based company that provides endpoint security, incident response services and computer forensics services. FireEye said at the time that the acquisition would boost the Milpitas, Calif.-based security vendor's own virtual machine malware analysis engine with the Mandiant platform capabilities.

"Together, the size and global reach of FireEye and Mandiant will enable us to innovate faster, create a more comprehensive solution, and deliver it to organizations around the world at a pace that is unmatched by other security vendors," FireEye Chairman and CEO David DeWalt (pictured) said in a statement at the time.

SanDisk Buys Fusion-io

In June, flash storage technology developer SanDisk said that it planned to acquire Fusion-io for an estimated $1.1 billion. The SanDisk acquisition will give the Milpitas, Calif.-based company access to flash-based PCle hardware and software as well as its ioControl hybrid flash and disk array and its ION Accelerator all-flash appliance for application acceleration.

The acquisition continued the consolidation of the flash storage industry, with SanDisk leading the consolidation charge as part of its enterprise business strategy. Some of the company's acquisitions in recent years include Smart Storage Systems, Schooner, Pliant Technology, NexGen and IO Turbine.

VMware Buys AirWatch

In a blockbuster bid to boost its mobile security competitiveness, VMware revealed in January that it was acquiring mobile device and application management company AirWatch. VMware paid $1.54 billion for the Atlanta-based company, with $1.175 billion in cash and $365 million in installment payments. In addition to giving the company extra fuel in its competition against mobile security rivals IBM, Citrix Systems and Oracle, the acquisition gave VMware a foothold into the end-user computing business.

Lenovo Buys IBM x86 Server Business

Lenovo kicked off the year with a pair of blockbuster bids, the first of which acquired IBM's x86 server business for $2.3 billion. CRN first reported negotiations around the x86 server business sale in April 2013, with subsequent rumors that Dell was also negotiating for the buy.

More specifically, the acquisition gave Lenovo IBM's System x, BladeCenter and Flex System blade servers and switches, x86-based Flex integrated systems, NeXTScale and iDataPlex servers, and associated software, blade networking and maintenance operations. Under the deal, Lenovo said it would assume customer relations and maintenance, with 7,500 IBM employees potentially coming on board. For its part, IBM said it would continue to develop its software portfolio around the x86 platform.

Lenovo Acquires Motorola Mobility

In a move partners hailed as one that would reshape the enterprise IT market, Lenovo said at the end of January that it was acquiring Google's Motorola Mobility division for $2.91 billion. The news of the acquisition deal came just a week after Lenovo said it was also acquiring IBM's x86 business for $2.3 billion. Partners said the Motorola Mobility move was a chance for Lenovo to move away from the ailing PC market, though they said that Lenovo would really have to step up to the plate to succeed in the competitive smartphone market.

Comcast Acquires Time Warner

In a $45.2 billion deal that would bring together the two largest U.S. cable companies, Comcast disclosed in February that it planned to acquire Time Warner Cable. The acquisition is currently under review by regulators, with competitors such as 21st Century Fox posting $80 billion counteroffers, which Time Warner has rejected. The deal would add Time Warner's 11 million subscribers to the Comcast mix, bringing the joint total to around 30 million subscribers. The companies said that the merger would bring higher broadband speeds, faster Wi-Fi and new offerings to customers.

AT&T Acquires DirectTV

In yet another deal that brought together major cable providers, AT&T agreed to acquire DirectTV in May for $48.5 billion, pending regulatory approval. The deal significantly sets up the company to take on Verizon with a triple-threat video, broadband and mobile portfolio. If the deal is finalized, it would bring AT&T's subscriber base to 70 million locations.

’DirecTV's a great fit with AT&T, and together we'll be able to enhance innovation and provide customers new competitive choices for what they want in mobile, video and broadband services. We look forward to welcoming DirecTV's talented people to the AT&T family," AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson said in a statement at the time.

Ingram Micro Acquires Rollouts

In a move to boost its services business, Ingram Micro acquired Rollouts in July. The Chaska, Minn.-based company helps provide businesses with the talent and people they need to handle big projects, using the more than 15,000 IT services technicians in the company's e-Technicians network. With the acquisition, Santa Ana, Calif.-based Ingram Micro gained access to both the technicians network and the platform it runs on, which the distributor said will give its reseller partners the value-add professional services they need to be successful.

Ingram Micro wasn't the only distributor pushing further into the services side of the market this year, with Tarrytown, N.Y.-based Westcon revealing the acquisition of Intact Integrated Services in April.