In an effort to expand capabilities, reach new markets, acquire talent, or purchase solutions, mergers and acquisitions are frequent in the tech world. Let’s take a look back on 2016 through some of the tech industry’s most valuable or controversial acquisitions, and what trend those moves could mean going into 2017.
Fitbit Acquires Pebble
In early December, it was reported that FitBit, best known for its vast array of fitness tracking wearables, acquired Pebble Technology Corp., the company known for being the genesis of the smartwatch trend.
It had been known for some time that Pebble may have been in financial trouble, possibly due to the now increasingly competitive smartwatch market.
The deal is said to have been worth less than $40 million, which does not cover Pebble’s current debt load. The deal also only covers Pebble software. With this new acquisition, it is speculated that FitBit is trying to position itself to be a stronger competitor against the Apple Watch.
Pebble has been refunding backers of their Kickstarter for the Pebble 2 and Pebble Time 2 which are no longer set to be produced. Image courtesy of Pebble via Kickstarter.
Moving forward, this means that Pebble’s planned products, such as the Pebble Time 2, will not be released despite the success of its Kickstarter campaign. Also moving forward, there will no longer be updates for Pebble smartwatches.
ARM Acquires Allinea
In mid-December, ARM announced that it had acquired Allinea, a company which provides software tools for high-performance computing. In a press release on the ARM website, the company states that Allinea’s software is currently used in 80% of the world’s top performing supercomputers.
The acquisition is expected to support ARM’s expansion into the high-performance computing world by providing the company with software tools that can help debug and develop complex HPC systems.
It has not been revealed how much ARM paid to acquire Allinea.
Tesla Acquires Solar City
In mid-November, it was announced that Tesla would be acquiring SolarCity for $2 billion. Controversy around the deal stemmed from the fact that Elon Musk was the largest shareholder of both companies, owning 22% of SolarCity and 21% of Tesla. However, Musk, along with Antonio Gracias who is also a director of both companies, did not participate in the vote for the takeover.
Tesla and SolarCity will now provide entire home solutions in the Tesla brand. Image courtesy of Tesla.
The deal makes sense, with both companies making use of the Tesla Gigafactory, which is set to be the largest lithium-ion battery factory built to date. Musk’s ultimate vision is for the Gigafactory to become a one-stop shop for solar and electric power products, providing solar energy solutions for both homes and a range of electric vehicles for consumers.
It is expected that SolarCity will eventually become Tesla Energy.
The Dell Inc. and EMC Corp. deal, which was initiated in 2015 and finalized in September 2016, signalled the creation of the largest private tech company after the two companies merged to become Dell Technologies. Dell purchased EMC for $67 billion.
EMC is comprised of various subsidiaries including VMWare, VCE, EMC Isilon, RSA Security, and Virtustream.
The merger now makes Dell Technologies the leading provider of storage systems, second in servers, and third in PCs.
Marketing and branding for Dell Technologies were released in parallel with the announcement.