Private equity dominated the top 10 corporate M&A deals in 2022

Private equity dominated the top 10 corporate M&A deals in 2022

It was funny year in enterprise tech M&A, one in which most of the activity came from private equity firms: as the value of tech stocks plummeted throughout the year, these companies went on a bargain hunt. They saw companies with high upside potential being massively undervalued in the brutal market conditions of 2022.

But curiously, the year began with Microsoft announcing it would acquire Activision Blizzard in January for a whopping $69 billion, followed in April by selling Twitter to Elon Musk for $44 billion. However, none of these deals made it to this list – they’re not really big ventures. But they did show the promise and the big money thrown around this year.

After you take those deals out of the equation, the two biggest deals were still companies acquiring coveted properties for big bucks, but much of the top 10 is dominated by those private equity firms, with Thoma Bravo at three of the top 10 and Vista Equity Partners in two. According to Crunchbase, Thoma will have six billion dollar deals in 2022 and Vista will have three. That’s a lot of action for a year.

Recall that Google buying Mandiant for $5.4 billion and Intel acquiring Tower Semiconductor for the same price wasn’t even on the list. This year it took a price tag of at least $6 billion to even make the top 10. That’s more than $5.4 billion last year and $3.5 billion in 2020. This year’s deals totaled $153.9 billion, compared to $121 billion in 2021 and $165 billion in 2020, a year in which a bunch of chip companies changed hands in a period of consolidation for the industry.

We saw a number of small deals — small in M&A money, that is — as companies brought in smaller startups. Those deals didn’t make this list, but included Celonis buying Process Analytics Factory for $100 million and Snowflake acquiring Streamlit for $800 million. Many other deals were so small that the companies didn’t have to disclose the purchase price, such as IBM buying Envizi or Zoom acquiring Solvvy.

A few big deals fell through this year, with Nvidia walking away from its $40 billion bid to buy Arm after it came under intense scrutiny. In addition, Zendesk scrapped its bid to buy Momentive, the company behind SurveyMonkey, for $4.1 billion after investors rejected the deal. Eventually, Zendesk would be acquired and put on our list.

Several deals in this list are subject to intense regulatory scrutiny including the top two so it remains to be seen if all of these deals will make it to the finish line or join Nvidia in choosing to reduce the cost of battling a government entity, whether in the US, UK or EU. That could be the true M&A legacy of 2022, but time will tell.

Without further ado, here are the top 10 corporate M&A deals of 2022:

10. OpenText acquires Micro Focus for $6 billion
Not a big deal at all – a legacy software company buys a legacy software company – and frankly, Micro Focus itself has acquired a number of legacy titles over the years, including Borland and Novell. It also partnered with HPE in an $8 billion deal in 2016. As noted of the deal when it was announced, this wasn’t about building out the catalog with a compatible product, it was simply about getting bigger. Still, it made it to number 10 on this year’s list.

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