Big Tech Firms Get Bigger

The big fish are feeding.

As we predicted in this space last year, tough economic times are turning into a buying opportunity for large technology companies. During a recession, “Corporations have the upper hand–they’re not bidding against private equity, and no one’s going public,” Brenon Daly, a financial analyst with the 451 Group, told us. “They’re going to push to do deals.”

And many of them have, none more aggressively than Oracle, which has made no fewer than 10 acquisitions over the past year. The cash-rich software giant “is the new IPO,” said Bharosa’s Jon Fisher (who sold out to Oracle) to the Wall Street Journal. That same article reported that “even some companies with high-quality products have turned into desperate sellers.”

Microsoft and Cisco, which recently issued $4 billion in debt to help fund purchases, also are mentioned as potential acquirers. With credit tight and financial markets likely to be subdued for some time to come, look for the consolidation trend in technology to continue.

All of which should be of more than passing interest to CIOs. Anticipating a merger or acquisition involving an IT vendor must be part of any purchase agreement you make, as changes in ownership could bring changes in service, products or attitude. M&A activity can be good news or bad news for enterprise customers, but it is news that cannot be ignored.

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