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Strong Fundamentals Set the Stage for Technology Deals Uptick in 2014, According to PwC US

February 21, 2014

Abundance of Cash Reserves from Technology Majors and Record Levels of Private Equity Capital Fuel Deal-making in 2014

SAN JOSE, CA -- With a strong finish in technology deal activity in 2013, the outlook for 2014 points towards an accelerated pace as technology M&A continues to play a critical role for companies across industries to innovate and drive growth, according to PwC's US Technology Deals Insights 2013 Year in Review and 2014 Outlook report released today.

As companies look to talent, technology and portfolio additions to keep up with the pace of change, PwC expects the recent strength in technology deal activity to set the stage for a robust 2014, but with subdued levels of large platform acquisitions.

"Disruptive technologies are driving change at a dizzying pace, heightening the need for continuous innovation. M&A is playing an instrumental role for larger technology enterprises seeking to achieve growth," said Rob Fisher, PwC's US technology deals leader. "The abundant cash and marketable securities held by the top 25 technology companies at year end, and the record levels of capital being raised by private equity funds, is creating a tremendous atmosphere for technology M&A in 2014."

According to Deal Insights, cumulative technology deal value for 2013 closed at $99.8 billion, a decrease of three percent from 2012. A blossoming IPO market and growing valuations impacted mid-market deal volumes while overall value for the year was upheld by deals larger than $500 million. Total deal volume declined 18 percent ending the year at 204 closed transactions in 2013 compared to 249 deals closed in 2012. The increase in billion dollar deals resulted in average deal size increasing from $415 million in 2012 to $489 million in 2013.

Technology IPOs accounted for 16 percent of IPO value and 21 percent of IPO volume in 2013 and PwC anticipates continued growth in the technology IPO pipeline. In total, there were 51 IPOs, a substantial increase from 39 in 2012.

PwC finds that stabilization in global economies is paving the way for growth in cross-border deal activity with this trend continuing in 2014 as corporate and private equity buyers look to emerging markets for higher returns and accelerated growth trajectories. Domestic transactions comprised 62 percent of deal volume and 81 percent of deal value in 2013, compared to 71 percent of deal volume and 76 percent of deal value in 2012.

The report finds that software, accounting for 35 percent of technology M&A volume in 2013, remains at the forefront of technology deals as technology companies continue to expand into the cloud, mobility continues to grow, and more companies across industries leverage big data analytics.

•The lines between the Software and Internet sectors continue to fade, and cumulative value for the combined sub-sector deals representing 35 percent of total 2013 deal value, a decrease from 53 percent in 2012 largely due to a decline in billion-dollar software deals.

•The hardware sector showed mixed results, with the volume of transactions declining 22 percent but cumulative deal value increasing by 37 percent.

•The semiconductor sector showed strength in 2013 and represented 16 percent of overall technology transaction volume (33 deals) with a cumulative deal value of $10.7 billion, a 32 percent increase in value from 2012.

•IT services have similarly shown growth in 2013 with a 10 percent increase in volume and 32 percent increase in value, resulting in 34 deals closed and a cumulative deal value of $7.8 billion.

Despite the continued availability of cheap high yield and leveraged financing, and buoyant equity markets, private equity deal volume declined for the first time since 2009. Private equity deals comprised 31 percent of total technology deals with disclosed values in 2013 compared to 34 percent in 2012.

"2014 appears to have strong fundamentals for an increase in private equity deals. However, competition between financial and strategic buyers for high quality assets remains strong. Given the inherent ability of strategic buyers to justify higher valuations from synergies, we expect the trend of more private equity investments in the form of growth investments and add-on acquisitions to continue," added Fisher.

PwC found that divestiture activity remained strong during a robust IPO market as corporate buyers continued to optimize portfolio strategies. Divestiture transactions in technology increased 3 percent in 2013 to near 2009 and 2010 levels with 321 divestitures recorded in 2013 compared to 311 in 2012. Technology divestitures as a percent of total technology M&A volume rose from an average of 20 percent in 2012 to 22 percent 2013 in light of an overall decline in divestiture deal volume.

Cumulative divestiture deal value for transactions with disclosed deal values reached $17.9 billion in 2013 compared to $31.2 billion in 2012, a decrease of 42 percent. The top 10 divestitures of 2013 represented 81 percent of this value, an increase from 2012, when nearly 60 percent of total disclosed deal value was represented by the top 10 divestitures.

"User experience, new revenue models and process efficiencies will be at the heart of what technology companies want to accomplish with deal activity in 2014. The underlying theme is to enable intelligence for everything across industries," added Fisher.

The report outlines the following drivers for 2014 technology deals:

•Analytics Evolves. With large amounts of accumulated data, companies are evolving their approach to turn big data into actionable intelligence and improve user engagement with the business. PwC expects 'Big Data' to remain an active area of technology M&A.

•Building social, mobile and cloud platforms. Home grown platforms are often favored due to strategic and profit motives, but not all ecosystems are winners. As a result, companies continue to expand with proven platforms via acquisition in order to improve their offerings in cloud, social and mobile.

•Software-defined and the industrialization of hardware. With the increasing difficulty to generate a competitive advantage in building hardware, software continues to bring intelligence to bear by automating tasks, increasing technological capabilities and democratizing complex technology processes. PwC expects more software acquisitions that enable users to orchestrate traditional hardware tasks with software.

•Context awareness is key. As services continue to dominate the technology offering landscape, understanding how, when, where, and why someone is using the service is increasingly important. Areas such as local and social software, sensor technology, and mobile applications are among the components that will continue to drive acquisition interests.

•Technology is pervasive across industries. Technology companies of all shapes will focus on driving more industry specific solutions across health care, retail, banking, and industrial products among others. PwC anticipates that acquisitions will be a key vehicle for this activity.

•Security concerns continue unabated. From government information leaks to retail chain customer data, it is clear that more needs to be done to secure information - especially with the continued move to cloud and mobile technologies. PwC projects continued progress for large technology companies acquiring new security capabilities in 2014.

•Interface technologies and endpoints. From media consumption, transportation, or energy usage, increasingly our "things" are connected digitally. The ways in which consumers interact with their devices is also evolving, which includes touch, voice, facial recognition, among others. In 2014, PwC expects continued focus on innovations in these areas with large technology companies looking for new capabilities.

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