The 10 Largest Tech M&A Deals Of 2018 (So Far)

A Buyer's Market

The biggest names in tech -- Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Accenture, Cisco Systems, AT&T and Sprint -- came to play and brought their wallets when it came to acquisitions in a dizzying first half of 2018.

Some of the buys are changing the solution provider landscape, such as with merger of Getronics and Pomeroy, which emerges on the other side of the deal as a global player with 9,000 employees and a reach into more than 100 countries -- and that wasn't even the biggest deal of the first six months.

Among the top deals was Synnex's $2.8 billion acquisition of call center operations leader Convergys. The deal instantly puts the distributor with its Concentrix division into a clear leadership position in the business process outsourcing market.

(For more on the biggest news of 2018, check out "CRN's Tech Midyear In Review.")

10. HPE Acquires Plexxi

Purchase Price: Not Disclosed

HPE added a critical piece to its next-generation hybrid IT platform in May by inking a deal to acquire Nashua, N.H., startup Plexxi, a provider of software-defined data fabric networking technology. The acquisition gives HPE additional software-defined muscle as it moves to position itself as the leading provider of next-generation compute, networking and storage infrastructure. Plexxi will power HPE's SimpliVity hyper-converged infrastructure offering and its Synergy composable infrastructure with a next-generation data network fabric that can automatically create or rebalance bandwidth to workload needs.

9. Cisco Acquires Accompany

Purchase Price: $270 million

Cisco in May acquired Accompany, a privately held developer of an artifical-intelligence-driven relationship platform used by sales teams to find new prospects, navigate the sales cycle and strengthen relationships. Cisco acquired the Los Altos, Calif., startup for $270 million in cash and equity awards, and made its CEO, Amy Chang, senior vice president of its Collaboration Technology Group, a position that was vacated by superstar executive Rowan Trollope, who left to become CEO of Five9.

8. Accenture Buys Certus

Purchase Price: Not disclosed

Accenture inked an agreement in May to acquire Certus Solutions in a deal that will boost the $35 billion systems integrator's Oracle Cloud capabilities. The deal is one of more than 70 over the past three years as part of Accenture's no-holds-barred cloud and digital transformation services offensive. This move provides even more services muscle for Accenture, which this year was listed as one of the Gartner Magic Quadrant leaders for Oracle applications services. Certus says it has completed over 30 cloud projects in 100 countries, according to its LinkedIn profile. It also says it is the first dedicated Oracle Cloud support service and the first to tailor an Oracle Cloud solution for the public sector on G-Cloud, according to its LinkedIn profile.

7. McAfee Acquires Skyhigh Networks

Purchase Price: Not Disclosed

McAfee in January purchased leading cloud access security broker Skyhigh Networks in January to establish a dominant position in both the endpoint and cloud cybersecurity markets. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based platform security vendor praised Campbell, Calif.-based Skyhigh for pioneering the CASB product category and for its foresight in realizing that cybersecurity should not be an impediment to cloud adoption. This deal was McAfee's first major acquisition since spinning off from Intel in April 2017. Skyhigh founder and CEO Rajiv Gupta joined McAfee's leadership team to run the company's new cloud business unit. The company's existing organizational structure remained generally intact to ensure continuity for customers and partners.

6. Getronics Buys Pomeroy

Purchase Price: While the purchase price was not disclosed, the deal was financed with $815 million in lending.

European systems integrator Getronics acquired MSP heavyweight Pomeroy, No. 43 on the 2018 CRN Solution Provider 500, in a deal that creates a $1.3 billion solution provider behemoth with 9,000 employees and coverage in more than 110 countries. The acquisition marks a return to the North American market for Getronics, which 10 years ago sold its North American assets to CompuCom. Getronics Chairman and CEO Nana Baffour said the deal allows the systems integrator to achieve its goal of becoming a billion-dollar company two years earlier than originally planned. Departing from Pomeroy after the sale is Chris Froman, executive chairman of the board. Froman – CEO from 2009 to 2017 -- oversaw Pomeroy as it went private through a merger agreement with Platinum Equity in 2009, which valued the company at nearly $61 million. Six years later, he guided Pomeroy through another major transition as private equity firm Clearlake Capital acquired the company and merged it with retail partner Tolt Solutions to create a 4,000-employee, $1 billion channel giant.

5. Thoma Bravo Acquires Barracuda Networks

Purchase Price: $1.6 billion

Thoma Bravo completed its acquisition of Barracuda Networks in February, just four years after the storage and security vendor filed for an IPO. The Chicago-based private equity firm said it was impressed by Campbell, Calif.-based Barracuda's ability to bring comprehensive offerings to customers in an increasingly hostile and complex threat environment. The firm said that Barracuda is at the forefront of innovation in several highly strategic areas of the cybersecurity market. Barracuda, for its part, expected that the deal would help the company accelerate the growth of its industry-leading security platform. The company also praised Thoma Bravo's excellent history of investing in growing security businesses.

4. Plantronics Acquires Polycom

Purchase Price: $2 billion

Plantronics closed its $2 billion acquisition of unified communications and collaboration provider Polycom midyear, setting the company up to offer one of the broadest portfolios in the UCC industry. By joining forces, Plantronics moves out of the peripherals business and squarely into the unified communications systems market, giving the company the gravitas and scale it needs to work with UC competitors to increase interoperability, reduce complexity, and in turn, boost customer retention. The company said individual channel programs, strategies and leadership would be unchanged for the time being.

3. Synnex Acquires Convergys

Purchase Price: $2.8 billion

Synnex's $2.8 billion blockbuster acquisition of call center operations leader Convergys instantly puts the distributor with its Concentrix division into a clear leadership position in the business process omtsourcing (BPO) market. The deal, in fact, represents a bold move by the distributor to dominate the BPO Market with an additional $2.7 billion in BPO sales, a global BPO footprint with 12 new countries, 6,000 services professionals and new customers in key vertical markets. Once the deal is completed, Synnex will have a global BPO footprint of 40 countries servicing clients in 70 different languages.

2. T-Mobile And Sprint Merger

Purchase Price: $26.5 billion

T-Mobile and Sprint, the third and fourth biggest wireless providers in the U.S., respectively, are plotting their third merger attempt. The latest merger on the table values Sprint at $26 billion and T-Mobile at $55 billion without debt. T-Mobile will be the parent company and if the deal is approved, the combined company would be run by T-Mobile's current CEO, John Legere. Sprint and T-Mobile attempted to merge in 2014 but ultimately dropped plans because of concerns around regulatory opposition from a then-Democrat-led Federal Communications Commission. The two companies also tried to come together in 2017 under the now Republican-led FCC, but failed at the time because of disagreement over ownership of a combined T-Mobile/Sprint entity.

1. AT&T Buys Time Warner

Purchase Price: $85.4 billion

In perhaps the most high-profile tech merger of the year, AT&T finally closed its acquisition of Time Warner for $85.4 billion following a long legal battle with the U.S. Justice Department. AT&T originally announced its intent to acquire media giant Time Warner in October 2016 and faced a lawsuit from the Justice Department, which attempted to block the merger in 2017. After winning its case in court in June, the Dallas-based carrier closed the transaction two days later, which gave AT&T Time Warner's valuable content assets, such as HBO and CNN. The first major tech acquisition to face opposition from the Republican-led Justice Department, the deal could lay the groundwork for more merger and acquisition activity in the telecom industry.