According to Berkery Noyes’ Software report for third quarter 2015, volume underwent a slight uptick over the prior quarter, from 502 to 507 deals. The number of transactions year-to-date increased six percent compared to the corresponding timeframe in 2014. Aggregate value rose 24 percent relative to the previous quarter, from $33.8 billion to $41.7 billion. Of note, four of the highest value software transactions year-to-date occurred in the third quarter, three of which were backed by financial sponsors.
The industry’s largest strategic transaction in third quarter 2015 was the announced acquisition of HERE, a digital mapping and location intelligence business, by car manufacturers BMW Group, Audi Group and Mercedes-Benz for $3.1 billion. HERE was created by Nokia’s $8.1 billion acquisition of Navteq back in 2008. In addition to HERE, there have been several other recent transactions focused on mapping technology such as Apple’s acquisition of Mapsense, a visualization startup, in the third quarter; and Uber’s acquisition of Microsoft’s Bing mapping unit in the second quarter.
In terms of “Niche Software,” which is targeted to specific vertical industries, volume improved 13 percent on a quarterly basis. Deal flow in the Consumer Software segment decreased nearly one-third over the past three months. The Business Software segment, which consists of software designed for general business practices and not specific vertical industries, saw volume rise five percent.
Deal volume in the Infrastructure segment experienced a 21 percent quarterly decline. This followed a 29 percent increase between first and second quarter 2015. Regarding high profile acquirers in the third quarter, Microsoft completed a deal in the cyber-security subsector with the acquisition of Adallom, a startup that monitors the use of cloud-based services, for $320 million. This followed Microsoft’s acquisition of security software developer Aorato in 2014 for a reported $200 million.
Another notable cyber-security deal during the quarter was Splunk’s acquisition of Caspida, a threat detection company, for $190 million. There were also several deals in the quarter completed by notable acquirers relating to the Internet of Things (IoT), such as IBM’s acquisition of StrongLoop and Autodesk’s acquisition of SeeControl.
“Threats, intrusions, spam, phishing and other malicious elements show no sign of diminishing,” said James Berkery, Chief Information Officer at Berkery Noyes. “This is leading some vendors to amass a war chest of security assets through M&A.” Berkery continued, “Many organizations are also looking to mitigate information risk by shoring up authorization and authentication capabilities. This includes portal implementations through a unified single sign-on; consolidating information through more effective content management; and applying better analytics to various business processes. Moreover, those in certain vertical markets such as life sciences and financial services must address regulatory concerns as well as ongoing threats of litigation, legal discovery costs and privacy issues. Each of these factors may help spur acquisition activity going forward.”