The ability of M&A activity to weather some of the toughest headwinds over the past three years has been remarkable.
In the first half of the year, despite geopolitical turmoil, volatility in commodity prices, and a return to historic levels of inflation, global M&A activity still reached a total value of $2 trillion, spread across 2,274 deals.
With the caveat that almost all of these deals are still at the pending stage, below DealRoom looks at seven of the biggest recent M&A transactions and their implications for the merging companies.
1. Microsoft acquisition of Activision Blizzard
- Date: January 18 2022
- Value: $68.7 billion
- Industry: Gaming
When predicting the future of consumer software, looking at Microsoft’s acquisitions is rarely a bad place to start. In January of this year, it acquired the world’s largest video game maker for $95 per share, in an all-cash transaction valued at $68.7 billion, suggesting to many that this was the beginning of a new phase for the gaming industry.
With the acquisition, Microsoft added a series of globally renowned franchises to its portfolio including Warcraft, Diablo, Call of Duty, Overwatch, and Candy Crush. Significantly, the deal also meant that Microsoft jumped into the world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue slot, now just behind Tencent and Sony.
What’s the play behind the acquisition? Well, it looks as though Microsoft is betting that the future of gaming is on the cloud, and not on consoles (such as the Playstation). By bringing all of its stable of beloved games onto Game Pass, its flagship subscription service, it could become the go-to destination for gamers across the world.
2. Broadcom acquisition of VMWare
- Date: May 26 2022
- Value: $61 billion
- Industry: Information Technology
In May of this year, the diversified semiconductor (and increasingly cloud-focused) manufacturer Broadcom acquired VMW are in a cash and stock deal worth $61 billion. Not for the first time after one of Broadcom’s major acquisitions, the market reacted negatively, with Broadcom stock falling almost 20% in the month after the deal.
One of the reasons for concern is the perceived different cultures at each of the companies. Broadcom has developed an‘acquire-and-axe’ reputation in the software industry, acquiring firms before large staff layoffs and divestments of unwanted divisions. By contrast, VMWareis considered a company that adopts more of a ‘fail often, fail well’mentality.
Time will tell on the culture. Certainly,VMWare’s CEO has been keen to play up the merits of the deal, noting that it’s highly unlikely to go the way of previous Broadcom acquisitions, such as those of Symantec and CA Technologies over the past few years. And the synergies between VMWare’s software and Broadcom’s overall infrastructure could be significant.
3. Prologis merger with Duke Realty
- Date: June 13 2022
- Value: $26 billion
- Industry: Real Estate
The June merger between Prologis and Duke Realty in June of this year brings together two of the world’s major logistics real estate companies. The transaction was valued at $26 billion including debt, and was paid for using Prologis’ equity. It cemented Prologis as the world’s largest logistics real estate operator.
On closing the acquisition, the new firm – the name of which is yet to be decided – will have an astonishing portfolio of logistics property. This includes: 153 million square feet of property across18 US regions, 11 million square feet of development in progress, accounting for over $1.5 billion in investment, and 1,228 acres of land owned and under option.
The rationale here seems to be ‘buy land; they’re not making it anymore.’ What’s interesting here is that warehouse stocks had been trending down in the first half of the year, in line with less optimistic forecasts from the eCommerce sector. Prologis and Duke were undeterred, and have effectively doubled down on a positive future for the sector.
4. Orange merger with Grupo MásMóvil
- Date: July 23, 2022
- Value: $21.3 billion
- Industry: Telecommunications
The merger between Orange and Grupo MásMóvil creates a new leader in Spain’s cellular telephone market. Each of the companies will have equal governance rights in the new company (likely to be called Orange) and synergies from the deal have been estimated at €450m per annum after a four-year post integration period.
Although neither of the two partners in the merger would say, this appears like a play for scale which would allow the new company to make inroads in neighbouring markets like Spain and France. Before that can happen, the new company can use the combined financial muscle of both companies to make much-needed investments in 5G and fibre.
5. DSM merger with Firmenich
- Date: May 31 2022
- Value: $21 billion
- Industry: Food and Beverage
Dutch Chemical Company Royal DSM announced in the second half of 2021 that it was moving away from petrochemicals and materials to focus on sustainable food and health products, and was selling its materials division as a result. Its transition has been speedy: In less than nine months, it had merged with Swiss flavours company Firmenich to create DSM-Firmenich.
The merger is the final step in DSM’s 20-year strategy shift away from petrochemicals and materials, in a remarkable turnaround. The newly formed company will combine DSM’s ingredients business with Firmenich’s taste business, creating an exciting new proposition for a high-growth segment of the food and beverage industry.
6. Vista Equity Partners acquisition of Citrix
- Date: January 31 2022
- Value: $16.5 billion
- Industry: Information Technology
The transaction that brought Citrix into the Vista Equity Partners portfolio of companies (in partnership with Evergreen Partners) valued the company at $105 per share – a 30% premium. In a year where technology firms have taken a hit, it suggests that Vista Equity Partners could see something in the enterprise software maker that nobody else could.
Well, that’s part of the story. In truth, Citrix share price had fallen by close to 50% over the previous two years. By bringing it into its portfolio of companies (Vista Equity Partners is solely focused on technology acquisitions), there may be some synergies to enjoy on day one, as well as a focused restructuring over the next year or two to extract value from the acquisition.
7. TDBank acquisition of First Horizon
- Date: February 28 2022
- Value: $13.4 billion
- Industry: Banking
TD Bank’s acquisition of First Horizon looks like an acquisition backed by solid rationale. TD Bank’s major markets are in the northeast, while First Horizon is focused on the southeast. By bringing the two together, TD Bank should become a behemoth in commercial banking on the eastern coast of the United States.
TD Bank also creates a scale that it otherwise would have waited years to achieve: Assets of $614 billion, deposits of $469billion, 10.7 million customers, and around 1,500 branches. Best of all, the acquisition enables TD Bank to scale its market leading retail banking products, which should prove attractive to the growing number of high net wealth individuals in the southeast.