Security Experts:

IT Security Contributes to Record Volume of Tech M&A Deals

Technology mergers and acquisitions (M&A) soared by 57% year-over-year in the second quarter of 2014 and IT security has played an important role in this trend, according to professional services firm Ernst & Young.

The April-June 2014 issue of the company's global technology M&A update shows that cloud/SaaS, financial services, security and big data analytics deals have all contributed to a record-setting volume of global technology M&A transactions.

Cloud/SaaS technology was a key enabler for a broad spectrum of deals, with many of them having security and/or big data analytics aspects. The volume of deals that involved cloud, big data analytics and security increased faster, on average, than the total global volume, the report said.

"Nothing less than a technology-induced reinvention of all industries has begun, moving toward ‘sense and respond’ relationships between businesses and their customers and driven by the five transformational technology megatrends: smart mobility, cloud computing, social networking, big data analytics and accelerated technology adaptation," said Jeff Liu, Global Technology Industry Transaction Advisory Services Leader at Ernst & Young.

All of the five transformational technology "megatrends" identified by Liu are driving increased information security requirements, the report said.

Tech Companies Acquired in 2014

"Many security deals focused on aggregating threat data or analyzing real-time network traffic to identify and respond to malware or attacks-in-progress, exemplified by Cisco Systems, Inc.’s undisclosed-value deal for ThreatGRID, Inc," Ernst & Young noted in the M&A update. "ThreatGRID will help strengthen Cisco's Security strategy and combine with technology from Sourcefire, which it acquired for $2.7 billion in 3Q13."

Organizations' efforts to secure Hadoop,  the open-source software framework for storage and large-scale processing of datasets on clusters of commodity hardware, have also led to growth. For example, Hadoop provider Cloudera acquired cloud-based encryption software provider Gazzang, and Hortonworks acquired XA Secure to provide comprehensive security capabilities for Enterprise Hadoop.

Another important security-related deal mentioned in the report is the decision of French tech giant Athos to acquire Bull Group in an effort to become a leader in the cloud, big data and cybersecurity market.

Other recent M&A deals in the cybersecurity sector, while not specifically in Q2 2104, include Lockheed Martin’s acquisition of Industrial Defender and Palo Alto Networks’ $200 million acquisition of Cyvera in March, and FireEye’s acquisition of nPulse Technologies in May. Earlier this month, European digital security firm Gemalto agreed to acquire SafeNet for $890 million. IBM also made two recent acquisitions, buying up IAM-focused firms CrossIdeas and Lighthouse Security Group.

The complete "Global technology M&A update: April-June 2014" is available here.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.