The 10 Biggest Technology M&A Deals Of 2019

Private equity firms also took a larger chunk of the IT market as industry stalwarts ConnectWise -- which was bought in February then merged with rival Continuum -- and Tech Data were both taken over by institutional investors.

2019: Another Year Of Consolidation

The tech space was packed with industry-shocking mergers among the biggest players this year -- with SalesForce buying Tableau for $15.7 billion, VMware acquiring CarbonBlack, and Google’s purchase of Looker among just some of the deals shaking things up in the channel.

Private equity firms also took a larger chunk of the IT market with massive purchases and mergers. Among those deals were industry stalwart ConnectWise -- which was bought in February then merged with rival Continuum -- by Thoma Bravo. Recently, Tech Data agreed to be purchased by Apollo Global Capital.

While 2019 saw no shortage of consolidation, 2020 is already shaping up to try to top it with some of the biggest vendors lining up deals for the year ahead. Here is a look back at the biggest deals of 2019.

10. ConnectWise And Continuum

In February, private equity firm Thoma Bravo announced its purchase of MSP platform ConnectWise. The investment company already owned rival ITSM providers Continuum and a portion of SolarWinds MSP. While executives downplayed talk of consolidation among rival platform providers ConnectWise and Continuum at the time, that deal did come together in an announcement at IT Nation in late October.

Jason Magee, who stepped into the CEO role when Thoma Bravo bought ConnectWise, will lead the new, combined enterprise which boasts ConnectWise industry-leading PSA tool as well as Continuum’s four SOCs around the world, and AI/ML enhanced network security. Also part of the deal was IT Boost, an automated documentation tool for MSPs.

9. Commvault Acquired Hedvig

Data protection and management software developer Commvault acquired Hedvig, a developer of a software-defined distributed storage offering for $225 million this fall.

It brings Commvault the software-defined storage technology it needs to better manage data that is becoming more fragmented over different types of media, even as clients look for ways to combine their primary and secondary storage requirements in a single platform, said Don Foster, vice president of storage solutions for the Trinton Falls, N.J.-based vendor.

"This lets us accelerate our vision of software-defined storage as we see the data management path getting more consolidated," Foster told CRN. "Customers are requesting their data protected more frequently. They're looking at how their data is protected for compliance. And they want to ensure access to where the data is protected."

Hedvig is a developer of software-defined storage for accelerating business' ability to migrate apps to the cloud. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company's Hedvig Distributed Storage Platform combines block, file, and object storage for bare metal, hypervisor, and container environments.

8. Thoma Bravo’s Acquisition Of Sophos

Private equity giant Thoma Bravo offered to purchase Sophos in October for $3.82 billion less than four and a half years after the SMB platform security stalwart went public.

Thoma Bravo, with headquarters in Chicago and San Francisco, said the proposed acquisition of Abingdon, U.K.-based Sophos would fit the private equity firm’s global strategy of investing in and growing software and technology businesses. The $7.40 per share deal represents a 37.1 percent premium over Sophos’ Friday closing price of $5.30 per share.

“They know the space, and they know what’s necessary to succeed and drive innovation and growth and operational performance to accelerate both the top line and bottom line,” Sophos CEO Kris Hagerman told CRN. “They’ve worked with a lot of cybersecurity companies, so they’ve seen a lot of different business models.”

Specifically, Hagerman said Sophos’ board felt the acquisition by Thoma Bravo could help the company boost its progress around next-generation network and endpoint security technologies. Thoma Bravo’s deep security expertise should help with everything from strategic consideration of M&A to expanding and accelerating the company’s MSP, subscription and Software-as-a-Service offerings, Hagerman said.

7. VMware’s Purchase Of Carbon Black

VMware is expecting to take the endpoint security market by storm with the August acquisition of Carbon Black. In a recent interview with CRN, VMware’s chief operating officer Sanjay Poonen said VMware will out-innovate “fossils” like Symantec and McAfee.

“In endpoint security, the traditional players are not innovating. They’ve become fossils, almost— Symantec, McAfee,” said Poonen. “Some of them are getting bought by hardware companies, some are getting spun out of hardware companies and put inside private equity companies. What’s happening to that talent, though, is that they’re leaving because the good talent doesn’t want to work for a hardware company or someplace that’s not innovating.

VMware completed its acquisition of Carbon Black in October. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based virtualization superstar successfully completed its tender offer to purchase all outstanding shares of common stock of Carbon Black for a price of $26 per share, representing a value of $2.6 billion, according to a VMware filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

As a result, shares of Carbon Black officially ceased to be traded on the Nasdaq, effective Oct. 8. The Waltham, Mass.-based security company entered the public market in May 2018, initially trading at around $24 per share. Carbon Black’s stock hit a high of $34.10 per share in June 2018, with a low of $12.27 per share in December 2018.

6. Google Acquiring Looker

In June, Google struck a deal to acquire business analytics software developer Looker for $2.6 billion in a blockbuster move to expand the business intelligence offerings of Google Cloud. The deal has not yet closed.

Looker, one of the more prominent startups in the business analytics space, develops a platform with business intelligence, data applications and embedded analytics capabilities. The company's platform runs purpose-built applications for marketing and web analytics and the company recently added a sales analytics application to its product portfolio.

Google Cloud already includes a number of big data management and analytics services including the company's BigQuery cloud data warehouse service that competes with Snowflake Computing and Amazon Web Services' Redshift.

Google, in a statement, said the addition of Looker to Google Cloud will "provide customers with a more comprehensive analytics solution—from ingesting data to gain insights, to embedded analytics and visualizations—enabling enterprises to leverage the power of analytics, machine learning and AI."

5. OpenText Acquiring Carbonite

Software provider OpenText entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Carbonite for $23 per Carbonite share in cash, valued at $1.42 billion, in a move to bolster its cloud business.

“Following expressions of interest from multiple parties, the Carbonite board conducted a thorough and comprehensive process, which included contact with a number of strategic and financial parties, to identify the best way to maximize shareholder value,” said Steve Munford, interim CEO, president and executive chairman of the board of Carbonite, in a statement. “The board strongly believes that a transaction with OpenText delivers compelling, immediate and substantial cash value to shareholders.”

Munford said joining OpenText is “an exciting next step” for Boston-based Carbonite.

Operating in 40 countries, Ontario, Canada-based OpenText specializes in enterprise information management (EIM) for on-premises and cloud services. The company said it has the only complete offering for EIM with a comprehensive view of all the information within an organization.

“Cloud platforms and secured, smart endpoints are essential information management technologies as businesses transform into Industry 4.0,” said Mark J. Barrenechea, OpenText CEO and CTO, in a statement.

4. Broadcom Acquiring Symantec

Broadcom completed the blockbuster acquisition of Symantec’s $2.5 billion Enterprise Security business that was first announced in August.

The San Jose, Calif.-based semiconductor manufacturer said that the Symantec Enterprise Security business will continue to be led by Art Gilliland, who has overseen the division’s product and engineering teams since November 2018. The consumer business of Symantec, meanwhile, will remain an independent, publicly traded entity and has immediately changed its name to NortonLifeLock.

“We are excited to join Broadcom as it continues to build one of the world’s leading infrastructure companies,” Gilliland said in a statement. “Broadcom has a proven track record of successfully integrating companies, enabling enhanced growth and a faster pace of innovation.”

The company said it plans to enhance its investment around the Symantec enterprise security endpoint, web and data loss protection products, while scaling down investment in other areas where the return may not be as profitable. Broadcom intends to achieve $1 billion of cost synergies in the year after the close of the Symantec deal through cuts to sales, marketing, general and administrative functions.

3. Tech Data Being Acquired By Apollo

Distribution giant Tech Data has agreed to be acquired by Apollo Funds for $5.4 billion in a distribution game changer that will take the company private.

Following the close of the transaction, Rich Hume will continue to lead Tech Data as chief executive officer, and the company will continue to be headquartered in Clearwater, Fla. Tech Data will become a privately-held company, and its common shares will no longer be publicly listed.

Hume said the deal represents a chance for Tech Data to enlist new money to enhance its offerings to channel partners as well as differentiate its products from competitors.

“This investment by funds managed by one of the world’s leading global alternative investment managers will afford us additional resources to accelerate our ability to bring to market the technology products and solutions the world needs to connect, grow and advance,” he said in a statement. “The transaction will enable us to build on our success, making Tech Data a growth platform and enabling us to further differentiate and expand our end-to-end solutions and provide our channel partners with unparalleled reach, efficiency and expertise.”

Tech Data’s board voted unanimously in favor of accepting the $145 per share offer, which is expected to close in the first part of 2020. The deal was financed through Citi, J.P. Morgan, Wells Fargo, Barclays and RBC Capital Markets. Bank of America Securities is serving as financial advisor to Tech Data, and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP is acting as legal counsel.

2. Nvidia Acquiring Mellanox

Nvidia said its $6.9 billion acquisition of high-speed interconnect vendor Mellanox Technologies may not close until early 2020, signaling that the blockbuster deal could take longer than expected to finish.

Since the deal was announced in March, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based chipmaker had been saying the deal would close by the end of the calendar year. In August, the company said that the acquisition of the publicly traded Israeli company was "progressing as expected." But those expectations changed on Thursday when the company released its third-quarter earnings for its 2020 fiscal year.

"Although discussions with the European Union and China regulatory bodies are progressing and closing the acquisition is possible by the end of this calendar year, the company believes the closing will likely occur in the early part of calendar 2020," Nvidia said in the third-quarter earnings release.

1. Salesforce Buying Tableau Inc. took a major step to increase its business analytics portfolio in June, striking a deal to acquire Tableau Software, one of the leading developers of business intelligence and data visualization software, for a whopping $15.7 billion.

Salesforce acquired the publicly held Tableau in an all-stock transaction. Salesforce exchanged 1.103 shares of its common stock, valued at $15.7 billion, for each share of Tableau's Class A and Class B common stock.

“Tableau is an extraordinary company, with an amazing product and team and an incredibly passionate community,” said Marc Benioff, Chairman and co-CEO, Salesforce. “Together we can transform the way people understand not only their customers, but their whole world—delivering powerful AI-driven insights across all types of data and use cases for people of every skill level."

Tableau operates independently under the Tableau brand following the close of the acquisition in August, and remains headquartered in Seattle with Selipsky and the Tableau management team remaining in place. The company has more than 4,200 employees in Seattle and in offices around the world.