Biggest technology acquisitions 2020

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Last year marked a slight decrease in global technology M&A activity from the blockbuster year that was 2018 – when SAP bought Qualtrics for $8 billion, IBM acquired Red Hat for a staggering $33 billion and Broadcom picked up CA Technologies for $18.9 billion in cash.

As of the end of Q3 2019, technology M&A deals worth $245 billion had been announced globally, marking a decrease of 25% year-on-year according to GlobalData.

Which mergers and acquisitions does 2020 have in store? If January alone is anything to go by, there will be no slowing of major deals across the industry, with security already proving to be a hot area.

Here are the biggest technology acqusitions of 2020 so far, in reverse chronological order:

23 June: Mastercard to acquire open banking firm Finicity

Mastercard announced in June that it is acquiring Finicity for $825 million. 

The Utah-based fintech specialises in open banking – a new regulation-driven mode of banking which is further ahead in Europe than the US – where consumers are given greater control of their finances by leveraging secure APIs to connect their bank account to other fintech services and make quick payments, without using traditional middle men, like Mastercard.

What Finicity provides is a platform that enables financial institutions to connect these data streams to a wide range of financial institutions and credit-decisioning bodies, without having to do the ‘plumbing’ themselves. Notable clients include FICO and Experian.

Analysts noted a similarity in the deal to Visa’s recent purchase of Plaid for $5.3 billion (see below).

“Mastercard invested early in open banking and launched a set of solutions in Europe last year. Today, these leading services are live in a dozen countries. With the addition of Finicity, Mastercard expects to not only advance its open banking strategy but enhance how it supports today’s digital economy. This strategic approach demonstrates how Mastercard is an excellent fit,” said Finicity cofounders Steve Smith and Nick Thomas in a blog post.

22 June: Microsoft acquires CyberX

Microsoft announced the acquisition of Israeli IoT security specialists CyberX in June for an undisclosed amount. Microsoft will incorporate CyberX technology and talent into its cloud Azure unit, where it already offers the Azure IoT stack, Azure Security Center for IoT and Azure Sentinel. The CyberX team will now report in to fellow Israeli Yuval Eldar, Microsoft GM of IoT Security.

Founded in 2013, CyberX allows customers to manage and improve the security of their IoT assets, be that a set of autonomous robots on a factory floor or a fleet of consumer-facing smart doorbells. Existing clients include major oil and gas utilities, as well as US government agencies like the Department of Energy.

28 May: Cisco acquires ThousandEyes

Cisco announced its intention to acquire network intelligence specialist ThousandEyes in May for an undisclosed amount.

San Francisco-based ThousandEyes sells cloud-based analytics tools for the internet, local and wide-area networks. The company also tracks ISP, cloud and collaboration application performance, data which we use to track global internet outages over at Network World.

“ThousandEyes’ technology warns us when a user’s experience is less than ideal and can pinpoint where those failures were caused. With thousands of agents deployed throughout the Internet, ThousandEyes’ platform has an unprecedented understanding of the Internet and grows more intelligent with every deployment,” Todd Nightingale, senior vice president and general manager at Cisco wrote in a blog post.

Cisco plans to embed ThousandEyes technology into its existing products, with AppDynamics application performance, SD-WAN, WebEx and Meraki standout candidates for a boost. The team will join a newly formed Networking Services unit at Cisco, reporting to Nightingale. ThousandEyes CEO Mohit Lad will become the GM of ThousandEyes.

19 May: Microsoft acquires UK-based Softomotive

Microsoft announced the acquisition of UK-based provider of robotic process automation software Softomotive in May for an undisclosed amount. Softomotive talent and technology – specifically its desktop automation tool WinAutomation – will be folded into Microsoft’s Power Automate platform.

Founded in 2005 by Greek entrepreneurs Argyris Kaninis and Marios Stavropoulos, Softomotive has thousands of customers across the healthcare, banking, insurance, and telecom industries.

“Together with Power Automate, WinAutomation will provide customers additional options for RPA desktop authoring so anyone can build a bot and automate Windows-based tasks. The combined offering will also enable RPA connectivity to many new apps and services including SAP and traditional green-screen terminal applications,” Charles Lamanna, CVP for the Citizen Application Platform stated in a blog post.

15 May: Facebook buys Giphy for $400 million

Facebook announced on 15 May that it was to buy Giphy, the popular searchable library for movable images, or gifs. The product and team will be rolled into the Instagram division of the social media giant. The price for the acquisition was pegged at $400 million by Axios, which broke the story.

“Giphy makes everyday conversations more entertaining, and so we plan to further integrate their GIF library into Instagram and our other apps so that people can find just the right way to express themselves,” Vishal Shah, VP of product wrote in a blog post, in which he also referred to Giphy as a “leader in visual expression and creation”.

Shah also revealed that 50% of Giphy traffic already comes via the Facebook family of apps, half of that from Instagram itself.

14 May: Microsoft to acquire Metaswitch Networks

Microsoft announced the acquisition of the UK-based firm Metaswitch Networks in May for an undisclosed amount.

This marks another move into the nascent 5G market by Microsoft, as Metaswitch specialises in virtualised, cloud-based communications software. The buy-out follows the acquisition of another 5G-focused company – Affirmed Networks – by Microsoft earlier this year.

“Metaswitch’s complementary portfolio of ultra-high-performance, cloud-native communications software will expand our range of offerings available for the telecommunications industry,” Yousef Khalidi, corporate vice president for Azure Networking wrote in a blog post.

“Microsoft intends to leverage the talent and technology of these two organisations, extending the Azure platform to both deploy and grow these capabilities at scale in a way that is secure, efficient and creates a sustainable ecosystem.”

13 May: VMware announces intent to acquire Octarine

The virtualisation specialist VMware announced its intention to acquire Octarine for an undisclosed amount in May.

The California-based startup specialises in securing applications running on the popular open source Kubernetes container orchestration platform. VMware will immediately fold the Ocatrine team and technology into its cybersecurity unit Carbon Black, which it acquired last year for $2.1 billion.

“Acquiring Octarine enables us to advance intrinsic security for containers (and Kubernetes environments), by embedding the Octarine technology into the VMware  Carbon Black Cloud, and via deep hooks and integrations with the VMware Tanzu platform,” Patrick Morley, general manager and senior vice president at VMware’s Security Business Unit wrote in a blog post.

12 May: Atlassian acquires help desk firm Halp

Atlassian announced it is acquiring helpdesk software-maker Halp in May.

Halp allows technology teams to assign, prioritise and answer requests directly from Slack. It already integrates with Atlassian’s Jira Service Desk and Confluence, allowing organisations to keep records of tickets via their support tool of choice. Atlassian says it will maintain Halp as a standalone brand and team post-acquisition.

7 May: Zoom acquires end-to-end encryption specialist Keybase

Zoom announced the acquisition of secure messaging specialist Keybase in May for an undisclosed amount.

The popular videoconferencing application has come under intense scrutiny during the global lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including various slights against its security credentials. CEO Eric Yuan quickly announced a 90-day plan to address these customer concerns, and this acquisition is being positioned as part of that response.

“We are proud to announce the acquisition of Keybase, another milestone in Zoom’s 90-day plan to further strengthen the security of our video communications platform,” Yuan wrote in a blog post.

Keybase specialises in end-to-end encryption, a cryptography method which ensures that communications are encrypted at each end of the line, meaning the content can’t be seen or heard by anyone outside of the parties involved, including the vendor itself. The service was designed in New York by OK Cupid cofounders Chris Coyne and Max Krohn, who will subsequently lead the Zoom security engineering team, reporting directly to Yuan.

Zoom says it will offer an end-to-end encrypted meeting mode to all paid accounts in the near future. “We plan to publish a detailed draft cryptographic design on Friday, May 22. We will then host discussion sections with civil society, cryptographic experts, and customers to share more details and solicit feedback,” Yuan wrote.

5 May: Sinch acquires SAP Digital Interconnect for £198 million

The Swedish cloud communications company Sinch picked up SAP’s mobile unit SAP Digital Interconnect (SDI) for £198 million in cash in May.

Sinch is similar to the US company Twilio in that it offers a suite of embedded communications options for messaging, voice and video via a set of APIs. SAP’s Digital Interconnect unit, which it has been shopping around for a number of weeks, is therefore a clear fit for the firm, as it provides a similar suite of products to an existing customer base of 1,500 businesses.

“With SAP Digital Interconnect now becoming a part of Sinch, we build on our scale, focus and capabilities to truly redefine how businesses engage with their customers, throughout the world,” Sinch CEO, Oscar Werner said in a statement. “The transaction strengthens our direct connectivity globally. Plus, it enables us to expand and accelerate a range of business-critical services to mobile operators, including products for person-to-person messaging, reporting and analytics.”

Sinch has been on something of an acquisition tear this year, picking up Brazilian business messaging service Wavy for £98 million and conversational AI specialist ChatLayer for £6 million in March.

4 May: Intel acquires Israeli Startup Moovit for $1 billion

Intel confirmed that it is acquiring Israeli mobility data specialist and journey planner app Moovit on 4 May for $900 million. The chipmaker will look to bring Moovit into its Mobileye mobility unit, which the chipmaker also acquired, for $15.3 billion in 2017. Mobileye provides driver assistance software to 60 million vehicles today and is also working on autonomous vehicle technology, where it will seemingly be able to leverage Moovit’s wealth of mobility data.

Founded in Tel Aviv in 2012, Moovit provides real-time traffic data to third parties like ride-hailing services and transit authorities through its popular mobile app. Intel was a strategic investor in the startup prior to this acquisition.

“Mobileye’s ACAS [advanced driver-assistance systems] technology is already improving the safety of millions of cars on the road, and Moovit accelerates their ability to truly revolutionise transportation – reducing congestion and saving lives – as a full-stack mobility provider,” Intel CEO, Bob Swan, said in a statement.

“Mobility is a basic human right, and as cities become more crowded, urban mobility becomes more difficult. Combining the daily mobility habits and needs of millions of Moovit users with the state-of-the-art, safe, affordable and eco-friendly transportation enabled by self-driving vehicles, we will be able to make cities better places to live in. We share this vision and look forward to making it a reality as part of Mobileye,” said Nir Erez, Moovit cofounder and CEO

4 May: NVIDIA buys Mellanox and Cumulus in multi-billion spree

Chipmaker NVIDIA made two acquisitions in close succession this spring: Cumulus Networks for an undisclosed amount on 4 May and cloud-network switch and adapter vendor Mellanox, which was announced on 27 April in a $6.9 billion deal.

Cumulus specialises in a Linux-based network operating system for large data-centre, cloud and enterprise environments. Mellanox specialises in networking hardware and software for large cloud and enterprise data centres, including high-speed interconnectivity for high-performance computing. All three companies have partnered on solutions in the past.

“With Mellanox, the new NVIDIA has end-to-end technologies from AI computing to networking, full-stack offerings from processors to software, and significant scale to advance next-generation data centres,” said Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of NVIDIA in a statement.

Both moves push NVIDIA further into the data-centre hardware and software space. As Network World contributor Zeus Kerravala argues, this “could signal the era of open networking.”

16 April: Verizon to acquire BlueJeans

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The business arm of US telco Verizon announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to buy the enterprise video conferencing company BlueJeans on 16 April, for less than $500 million according to the Wall Street Journal.

The acquisition of the Zoom and Cisco WebEx rival platform was announced at the height of the global COVID-19 pandemic, which forced unprecedented numbers of people to turn to video calling platforms like BlueJeans.

Verizon announced that it is looking to bring BlueJeans into its communications-as-a-business portfolio and is already eyeing integrations with its 5G product roadmap, especially to provide solutions in the telemedicine, distance learning and field service spaces.

“As the way we work continues to change, it is absolutely critical for businesses and public sector customers to have access to a comprehensive suite of offerings that are enterprise ready, secure, frictionless and that integrate with existing tools,” said Tami Erwin, CEO of Verizon Business in a statement. “Collaboration and communications have become top of the agenda for businesses of all sizes and in all sectors in recent months. We are excited to combine the power of BlueJeans’ video platform with Verizon Business’ connectivity networks, platforms and solutions to meet our customers’ needs.”

8 April: Cisco acquires Fluidmesh

Cisco announced in April that it will acquire the wireless backhaul specialist Fluidmesh Networks for an undisclosed amount.

The MIT and Polytechnic University of Milan spin-out company specialises in technology which enables reliable connections between sensors on fast-moving objects, such as trains, remote vehicles, and robotic manufacturing machinery. Cisco will hope the acquisition can boost its industrial internet of things (IIoT) portfolio. The two companies know each other well, having already partnered on Cisco’s Connected Rail Solutions product.

“With organisations digitising and interconnecting their systems, the speed of business is constantly being redefined. Fluidmesh’s leading technology will allow us to address these new and emerging use cases with a solution set that is quick to deploy and provides low operational costs and maintenance. We are excited to bring this unique technology to our customers,” Liz Centoni, senior vice president and general manager for Cisco Cloud, Compute and IoT wrote in a blog post.

8 April: Accenture buys Revolutionary Security

Accenture made its third cybersecurity buy of the year with the purchase of Philadelphia-based consultancy Revolutionary Security in April. Founded in 2016, Revolutionary Security focuses on cybersecurity consultancy services, from penetration testing to insider threat mitigation and threat hunting, and counts around 90 employees.

“The acquisition of Revolutionary Security is another demonstration of our continued commitment to invest in areas to keep our clients safe from cyber threats,” said Kelly Bissell, who leads Accenture Security globally, in a statement. “Revolutionary Security’s service offerings are a perfect complement to Accenture’s portfolio, and the acquisition furthers our mission of helping clients better protect and defend their organisations across their entire ecosystem.”

This marks the third cybersecurity acquisition by Accenture this year already, having picked up Symantec’s security services division in January and UK-based Context Information Security in March.

7 April: SoFi acquires Galileo for $1.2 billion

The fintech bubble shows no sign of bursting in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, as SoftBank-backed SoFi announced in April that it plans to buy Utah-based payments firm Galileo for $1.2 billion in stock and cash.

Galileo powers payments for various other fintech firms, such as stock trading app Robinhood and London-based money transfer service TransferWise.

This marks the San Francisco-based SoFi’s ambitions to build a catch-all fintech company, having started in 2011 with online-only student loans and since moving into everything from cryptocurrency to mortgages, personal loans and stock trading since.

“Together with Galileo, we will partner to build on our companies’ strengths to drive even greater financial technology innovation, making those products and services available to both current and future partners. While we march forward on our mission to help people achieve financial independence through our own direct efforts, with Galileo, we can enable a broader ecosystem of companies to join us in helping the world achieve financial independence,” said Anthony Noto, CEO of SoFi, in a statement.

7 April: CNN acquires Canopy

CNN, which is owned by media giant Turner, is in the process of acquiring digital news service Canopy for an undisclosed amount.

Based in Brooklyn and Boston, Canopy specialises in content personalisation, using human curation and machine learning algorithms. The app itself will be wound down as a result of the acquisition to better focus on delivering a similar product for its new parent company, according to TechCrunch.

26 March: Microsoft to acquire Affirmed Networks

Microsoft announced that it is acquiring the Boston-based Affirmed Networks for an undisclosed amount in March. The 2010-founded company specialises in virtualisation and cloud-based mobile network technology, which makes it an attractive acquisition target for any company investing in next-generation 5G connectivity.

“This acquisition will allow us to evolve our work with the telecommunications industry, building on our secure and trusted cloud platform for operators. With Affirmed Networks, we will be able to offer new and innovative solutions tailored to the unique needs of operators, including managing their network workloads in the cloud,” Yousef Khalidi, corporate vice president of Azure Networking wrote in a blog post.

The terms of this deal were not announced but Affirmed was most recently valued at north of $1.3 billion following a $38 million funding round in 2019.

2 March: BMC Software to acquire Compuware

Enterprise software stalwart BMC agreed to buy Compuware in March for an undisclosed amount, marking its third purchase of a mainframe specialist in just over a year.

The deal signals further consolidation of the mainframe support and services vendor landscape, as BMC has bought up RSM Partners and CorreLog in the past year or so, following an injection of cash when it was acquired itself by private equity firm KKR in 2018.

“The combined company will help customers better manage their mainframe operations, cybersecurity, application development, data, and storage as part of their enterprise devops strategies,” BMC said in a statement.

1 March: DocusSign acquires Seal Software for $188 million

E-signature specialist DocuSign has announced it is acquiring Seal Software for $188 million in cash. Seal, which is based in northern California, has built machine learning-enabled analytics software specifically for contracts, allowing organisations to search through large volumes of agreements by legal concepts, instead of keywords.

DocuSign made a $15 million strategic investment in the firm last year and has signalled its intention to tightly integrate its machine learning-powered application into its Agreement Cloud software.

“DocuSign is about digitally transforming the very foundation of doing business: agreements and agreement processes,” said Scott Olrich, DocuSign’s chief operating officer in a statement. “We believe that AI will play a vital role in this transformation. And by integrating Seal into DocuSign, we can benefit from its deep technology expertise and its broad experience applying AI to agreements.”

28 February: Intuit to acquire Credit Karma

US software maker Intuit – best known for its QuickBooks, Mint and TurboTax products – announced its intention to acquire fellow Silicon Valley-native company and rival Credit Karma in a $7.1 billion deal in February.

Through the acquisition, Intuit is looking to build an all-in-one financial assistant for customers, combining income, spending and credit histories, complete with financial product offers and personalised advice.

“By joining forces with Credit Karma, we can create a personalised financial assistant that will help consumers find the right financial products, put more money in their pockets and provide insights and advice, enabling them to buy the home they’ve always dreamed about, pay for education and take the vacation they’ve always wanted,” said Sasan Goodarzi, CEO of Intuit, in a press release.

The deal could get the attention of regulators however, with Credit Karma offering one of the few alternative free, digital tax-filing solutions on the market.

25 February: Salesforce acquires Vlocity for $1.33 billion

CRM giant Salesforce made its first acquisition of 2020 in February, picking up the San Francisco-based company for $1.33 billion. It’s a straightforward fit for the SaaS company, as Vlocity is a key partner and specialises in building industry-specific CRMs on top of Salesforce for companies in the media, financial services, health, energy and utilities sectors, as well as public sector and nonprofits. Salesforce had already invested in the company through its ventures arm in 2019.

Salesforce has long been interested in vertical specificity as it looks to embed its software deeper with large enterprise clients and has launched several of its own targeted solutions for industries with Financial Services Cloud and Manufacturing Cloud.

“Upon the close of the transaction, Vlocity – this wonderful company that we, as a team, have created, built, and grown into a transformational solution for six of the most important industries in the enterprise – will become part of Salesforce,” Vlocity CEO David Schmaier wrote in a blog post.

21 February: Morgan Stanley to acquire ETrade for $13 billion

American investment bank Morgan Stanley made a splashy acquisition in February, picking up online brokerage ETrade for $13 billion.

Morgan Stanley is hoping that the acquisition can help boost its wealth management division by attracting younger, less affluent customers thanks to the lower margins associated with digital wealth management solutions, including robo advice and commission-free trading like that popularised by startups Robinhood in the US and Nutmeg in the UK.

Founded in 1982 and based in Silicon Valley, ETrade specialises in electronic trading of financial instruments, from common stocks to exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

“E-Trade represents an extraordinary growth opportunity for our wealth management business and a leap forward in our wealth management strategy,” said Morgan Stanley chairman and CEO James Gorman in a statement.

20 February: Dialog Semiconductor acquires Adesto Technologies

UK-based Dialog Semiconductor acquired Adesto Technologies for $500 million in February. The California-based chip maker specialises in System-on-Chips (SoCs), edge router, network interfaces and resistive RAM technologies, with a specific focus on industrial IoT.

Just four months earlier Dialog also acquired German fabless chip firm Creative Chips GmbH for $80 million.

“This acquisition substantially enhances our position in the Industrial IoT market,” said Jalal Bagherli, CEO of Dialog in a statement. “Adesto’s established strength in connectivity solutions and highly optimized products for building and industrial automation perfectly complements and adds scale to our Industrial IoT portfolio from the recently acquired Creative Chips. Adesto’s deep customer relationships, comprehensive system expertise, and proprietary technology will deliver enhanced value for Dialog customers.”

19 February: Facebook takes majority control of Scape Technologies

Facebook surpassed a 75 percent majority share in London-based computer vision startup Scape Technologies in February. TechCrunch pegs the value of the deal at around $40 million. Scape’s existing backers included Entrepreneur First (EF), where the company was formed, along with VC firms LocalGlobe, Mosaic Ventures, and Fly Ventures.

Scape has built a developer kit that can combine imagery, latitude and longitude data to determine the location of a device to a higher degree of accuracy than GPS.

4 February: Koch Industries acquires remaining stake in Infor

It was announced in February that the massive multinational Koch Industries had acquired the remaining equity stake in the software vendor Infor. The deal values Infor at $11 billion, or nearly $13 billion including preferred shares, according to Bloomberg. Koch has been an investor in the vendor since 2017 and reportedly held as much as a 70 percent stake before this deal. This will halt any rumours of an IPO for Infor.

Infor specialises in enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, particularly focused on industry verticals and increasingly, shifting to the cloud with its CloudSuites product. It competes with the likes of Oracle, Microsoft and SAP and has a solid, loyal customer base, many of which, however, are still on-premise.

“Koch’s decision to acquire Infor is a strong endorsement of our product strategy and focus on creating innovative solutions for our customers,” said Kevin Samuelson, CEO of Infor in a statement. “As a subsidiary of a $110 billion+ revenue company that re-invests 90 percent of earnings back into its businesses, we will be in the unique position to drive digital transformation in the markets we serve. We are rapidly expanding our industry-specific CloudSuites and offering customer experiences and outcomes that are well beyond what is standard in enterprise software.”

3 February: Accenture acquires UK data consultancy Mudano

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Accenture announced in February that it is acquiring UK-based data consultancy Mudano for an undisclosed amount. The firm will join Accenture’s Applied Intelligence unit, which has been on an acquisition binge as of late, acquiring the likes of Clarity Insights, Pragsis Bidoop in Spain and Analytics8 in Australia in the past

Founded in 2014, Mudano has offices across the UK and its clients tend to be in the financial services sector.

“Our research shows that UK businesses are struggling with how to scale technologies like artificial intelligence to deliver business value – and financial services is no exception,” said George Marcotte, head of Accenture’s Applied Intelligence group for UK & Ireland, in a statement.

“Mudano’s focus on helping clients build a ‘data culture’ aligns perfectly to Accenture’s Applied Intelligence strategy. By creating a strong data foundation — supported by the right skills, stakeholders and technologies — our clients can transform at speed and scale and fuel real change for their business.”

22 January: ServiceNow acquires Loom Systems

ServiceNow is looking to accelerate its ability to deliver AIOps with the acquisition of Israeli startup Loom Systems for an undisclosed amount.

The SaaS giant is looking to deliver on the promise of AIOps, a model of IT where artificial intelligence techniques are leveraged to help predict and prevent issues from occurring, instead of reacting to service desk requests.

“Today, IT departments struggle to meet performance expectations and keep pace with the growth in demand for new, great digital services,” said Jeff Hausman, vice president and general manager of IT operations management at ServiceNow. “By bringing together Loom Systems’ ability to analyse log and metrics data with ServiceNow’s AIOps and workflow automation capabilities, IT departments will be able to proactively pin-point and resolve operational issues, enabling seamless experiences for their customers and employees.”

Later that month ServiceNow also acquired Passage AI, a Mountain View-based conversational AI specialist.

15 January: Apple acquires Xnor.ai for $200 million

Apple acquired Seattle-based Xnor.ai for a reported $200 million in January, according to TechCrunch.

The startup was spun out of the nonprofit Allen Institute for AI (AI2) in 2017 and specialises in machine learning and image recognition algorithms and techniques which work locally on the device.

As our Apple columnist Jonny Evans wrote at the time: “There is an obvious symmetry between the two company’s visions: Xnor.ai’s AI models that can be installed on edge devices and Apple’s strategy to invest its devices with on-board intelligence that don’t need cloud servers.”

14 January: Google Cloud acquires AppSheet

Google Cloud announced the acquisition of AppSheet in January for an undisclosed amount. The Seattle-based startup specialises in no code software development, allowing customers to build simple business applications without having to know how to write code.

AppSheet was founded by Praveen Seshadri and his old Cornell student Brian Sabino in 2014 and had secured a modest $18.5 million in funding to date, so it is safe to assume this wasn’t a blockbuster acquisition by the cloud vendor but it does fit with the company’s broader desire to democratise application development.

“We are philosophically and strategically aligned with Google Cloud in a shared commitment to a no-code platform,” AppSheet CEO Praveen Seshadri wrote in a blog post. “The AppSheet platform has been live for more than five years. As we’ve matured, so has the IT industry, and there is now a tremendous pent-up demand for enterprise automation. With the rise of low- and no-code platforms, citizen development has emerged as the strategic way for modern organisations to invest, innovate, and compete.”

13 January: Visa to acquire Plaid for $5.3 billion

Payments giant Visa has announced that it will be acquiring the fintech startup Plaid for $5.3 billion in cash.

The San Francisco-based startup has built what is essentially an identity layer which can seamlessly link together customer’s bank accounts with popular fintech apps like TransferWise or Venmo via a set of secure APIs.

The $5.3 billion price tag will raise some eyebrows as it represents a steep premium on its last private valuation of nearer $2.65 billion, following a $250 million Series C funding round in December 2018, of which Visa and its rival Mastercard were also investors.

“Plaid’s mission is to make money easier for everyone, and we are excited for this opportunity to continue delivering on that promise at a global scale,” said Zach Perret, CEO and co-founder of Plaid in a statement. “Visa is trusted by billions of consumers, businesses and financial institutions as a key part of the financial ecosystem, and together Visa and Plaid can support the rapid growth of digital financial services.”

9 January: Insight Partners to acquire Veeam for $5 billion

Private equity firm Insight Partners announced that it is purchasing the Swiss data management specialist Veeam for approximately $5 billion in January. Insight had invested $500 million in the firm last year.

Under Insight the vendor will become a US company under the leadership of new CEO William Largent, having previously held the role of executive vice president of operations. Danny Allan has also been promoted to CTO from vice president of product strategy.

“Veeam has enjoyed rapid global growth over the last decade and we see tremendous opportunity for future growth, particularly in the U.S. market. With the acquisition, we are excited that our current U.S. workforce of more than 1,200 will be expanded and strengthened to acquire and support more customers,” Largent said in a statement. “Veeam has one of the highest caliber global workforces of any technology company, and we believe this acquisition will allow us to scale our team and technology at an unrivalled pace.”

7 January: Appian acquires RPA vendor Novayre Solutions

Low-code app development specialist Appian announced its first ever acquisition, snapping up Spanish robotic process automation (RPA) specialist Novayre Solutions SL in January for an undisclosed amount.

Essentially Appian wants to combine its low-code development capabilities with the ability to program software bots to automatically complete simple business tasks in one platform.

Read next: Appian CEO Matt Calkins: openness is the way to go

“Appian is extending our lead in low-code automation by adding RPA,” said Appian CEO Matt Calkins in a statement. “Together, the products enable end-to-end process orchestration where humans, software robots, and AI all work together in a coordinated way.”

7 January: Accenture acquires Symnatec’s Cyber Security Services business from Broadcom

Professional services giant Accenture agreed to acquire Symnatec’s Cyber Security Services business from Broadcom for an undisclosed amount in January. That business unit and its 300 employees will be folded into Accenture’s own security practice, including its global threat monitoring and analysis capabilities, its global network of security operation centres and various threat intelligence and incident response services.

“Cybersecurity has become one of the most critical business imperatives for all organisations regardless of industry or geographic location,” said Julie Sweet, Accenture’s CEO in a statement. “With the addition of Symantec’s Cyber Security Services business, Accenture Security will offer one of the most comprehensive managed services for global businesses to detect and manage cybersecurity threats aimed at their companies.”

This also marks the latest in a recent spate of acquisitions by Accenture in the security space, including Deja vu Security, iDefense, Maglan, Redcore, Arismore and FusionX.

6 January: Insight Partners acquires Armis

Just three days before snapping up Veeam, Insight had already put pen to paper on the $1.1 billion acquisition of Israeli cybersecurity firm Armis. Google’s capital arm CapitalG is also contributing $100 million to the deal, as well as some existing stockholders. The startup had raised $112 million to date, with Insight being a previous investor.

Founded in 2015 by Yevgeny Dibrov, Tomer Schwartz, and Nadir Izrael and now based in California, the vendor specialises in “agentless” IoT security, allowing enterprises to manage and control their device fleets securely. Dibrov and Izrael will continue to lead the company under Insight’s ownership as CEO and CTO, respectively.

Dibrov said in a statement: “Insight is one of the most sophisticated software investors in the sector, and it is due to the depth of their domain expertise that they really understand the enterprise IoT device challenge we are looking to solve, and the size of the market opportunity. We considered growth rounds and strategic offers, but by partnering with Insight we have the best of both worlds – operational support and independence, both of which were important in our decision to take on a scaleup partner this early in our company journey.”

Read next from CSO.com: 10 biggest cybersecurity M&A deals of 2019

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