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Five major cloud-based acquisitions

Small startups bring in big dollars as companies try to acquire innovation, rather than build it

Mar 2, 2014

by Jim Kerr

The rise of cloud-based infrastructure has created a new playing field for the world’s tech companies, where creating, testing and releasing a new idea costs a fraction of what it once did.

Rather than build innovation from within, what we’re seeing these days is a major shift towards big companies figuring out what type of innovation they’re after and purchasing smaller startups that have already developed that technology.

Here are five major acquisitions of cloud-based companies from the last year:

February 19, 2014 – Facebook buys WhatsApp for $19 billion

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg made major headlines in February with the purchase of instant-messaging app WhatsApp for a whopping $19 billion ($4 billion cash, about $12 billion in stocks and $3 billion in restricted stock over the next four years). The startup reportedly has 450 million users worldwide, with 100 million of those being added in 2013. Google reportedly tried to buy WhatsApp last year for a meager $1 billion.

Dec 21, 2013 – Oracle acquires Responsys for $1.39 billion

Oracle did its part to extend its cloud businesses by acquiring business-to-consumer marketing software firm Responsys for $1.39 billion last December. Oracle offers cloud-based services in sales, commerce, service, social and marketing activities, and also makes business software.

Nov 6, 2013 – OpenText acquires GXS Group for $1.17 billion

Canadian software company OpenText shelled out $1.17 billion for U.S.-based GXS Group in November of 2013. GXS Group provides a cloud-based business interaction platform that operates like a trading exchange. Business Cloud News says with the move, OpenText adds new technology and services to its portfolio.

June 2013 – IBM acquires Softlayer for $2 billion

Tech-giant IBM announced last June that it was purchasing Softlayer, the world’s biggest privately held public cloud infrastructure operator, for $2 billion. Forbes reports the move is in response to IBM noticing a pattern of companies moving their operations to the cloud. The company has spent billions of dollars building out this part of its business over the past three years.

June 2013 – Salesforce acquires ExactTarget for $2.5 billion

Salesforce made a big splash in June of 2013 when it bought up ExactTarget, a marketing software maker, for $2.5 billion. Forbes reports that Salesforce started as a provider of sales-automation software, but has been dipping into the marketing software side of things in recent years. Salesforce and ExactTarget both sell software directly to marketing departments.


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