Report: 2,277 Private Tech Companies Were Acquired For Over $46.8B in 2012; Google And Facebook Were Most Active Acquirers

Private company M&A database CB Insights released a number of interesting data points tonight in a report focusing on M&A transactions in the technology sector. According to the report, 2,277 private tech companies acquired in 2012. The acquisitions of public tech companies (i.e. Priceline buying Kayak) were not included. You can check out the full report here.

In terms of pricing, $46.8 billion was the total price tag of 331 private companies acquired in 2012 (for those disclosing valuations and financials of the deals). Clearly this number would be much higher if incorporating the financials of those which were not disclosed. The report shows that 50 percent of exits are less than $50 million. Of the group, there were only eight $1 billion private tech companies acquired in 2012 (2.5 percent of all transactions). In fact, 80 percent of transactions were less than $200 million.


Of the 2,277 companies bought in the year, 94 percent of them were acquired by strategic acquirers, with the remaining 6 percentĀ taken out by private equity firms. And 76 percentĀ of tech companies acquired in 2012 had not raised investment prior to acquisition.


By sector, web and mobile commerce saw the most acquisitions, followed by advertising, sales and marketing and online news and information.

No big surprise — Google and Facebook were the most active acquirers in 2012. Both did 12 private tech company acquisitions each. According to the CB Insights data, Facebook did more talent acquisitions (five in the year). Cisco and Google disclose valuations and financials most often. Following Google and Facebook, Cisco, Groupon, Twitter, And Oracle rounded out the top six in terms of quantity of private tech company acquisitions.


Another non-surprise from the report — California saw the most private tech companies acquired in 2012. The state had more private tech companies acquired in 2012 than the next five states combined. New York came in second followed by Texas and Massachusetts. New York saw the highest share of Internet acquisitions.


The UK led international markets with the most private tech company acquisitions in 2012 followed by Canada and India.

So what’s the forecast for 2013? “With cash stockpiles of big tech companies and as non-tech companies see ‘software eating the world,’ expect a busy 2013.” In related reading, check out CB Insights’ report on VC funding and deals in 2012.