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Acquisitions End Q3 On Upswing Led by Financial Services

After last month’s low, September had slight bumps in average acquisition prices and a 13% increase in the number of deals. According to CrunchBase data, acquiring companies spent over $105B on 90+ deals, not including the 120+ acquisitions with undisclosed amounts.

The majority of last month’s acquisitions were for finance and financial services companies, including the $8.3B deal for expense management software company Concur by enterprise giant SAP, its biggest purchase ever. Games continued to be a major market for acquisitions this quarter, highlighted by Microsoft’s purchase of Swedish game developer Mojang and its Minecraft franchise for $2.5B. Many companies in the medical and health markets were also snatched up, including Lift Labs by Google to help the tech giant’s growing life science division. According to CrunchBase, Lift Labs previously raised $1.8M from Rock Health and NIH.

Lift Labs was just one of Google’s many acquisitions this summer. With 9 total deals, Google proved to be Q3’s most active spender. Yahoo! also had its own shopping spree with 6 acquisitions, and is already going up against Google in the messaging game this quarter.

The company with the highest disclosed price tag for September ended up being chemical products company Sigma-Aldricha, purchased by German chemical and pharmaceutical company Merck for $17B in a cash deal. This was the third most valuable acquisition in Q3, with the highest being another big pharma deal: AbbVie acquiring Shire for a whopping $54.8B in cash and stock. The second highest was Reynolds America, who acquired tobacco competitor Lorillard for $27.4B also for cash and stock and in the same month of July.

CrunchBase data on Q3 acquisitions continues to reinforce the fact that biotechnology remains, on average, the highest-priced market. Though enterprise software and manufacturing may not boast prices as high, a large number of companies in these markets were acquired last quarter.

The trends toward mobile and cloud were also evident in Q3 acquisition data. In addition to Google, numerous companies acquired mobile-centric startups including GoDaddy, Hootsuite, mBlox, and Science. Meanwhile, companies making moves towards acquiring for the cloud included Yahoo!, Atlassian, Cisco, Intuit, and Pinterest. HP also acquired Eucalyptus Systems, a provider of open source software for building private and hybrid enterprise clouds who had previously raised over $55M from VC firms such as e.ventures, Benchmark, and New Enterprise Associates.

For more on acquisitions, check out our ever-growing Acquisitions page.

Photo via Flickr user Eline Art.

  • Originally published October 14, 2014