Several mergers and acquisitions (M&A) involving tech companies over the past decade are well known – including Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp for US$19bn in 2014, Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility in the same year for US$12.5bn, and Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn for US$26bn in 2016.
However, according to new Cullen International global research, looking at the hundreds of acquisitions carried out in that period by tech companies with a significant global footprint, such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple (the so-called ‘GAFA’):
- most of those acquisitions regarded small scale start-ups;
- about one-third regarded companies outside the US; and
- very few were reviewed by competition authorities.
Not all acquisitions can be considered ‘killer’ acquisitions, the Cullen International report explains. However, policy makers around the world have started debating whether merger control rules should be amended to address new challenges in the fast-evolving global tech environment.
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