The IDC projects the Internet of Things (IoT) market to grow rapidly to a whopping $1.7 trillion by 2020, causing many to deem it the tech sector’s next Industrial Revolution.
IoT technology facilitates the exchange of information between businesses, homes, the cloud and billions of connected devices around the world, set to revolutionize the way companies operate across industries. Piggybacking off this growth are the manufacturers of IoT hardware, the semiconductor makers behind them, cybersecurity companies dealing with the increased risk, along with more-established tech companies seeking innovation through an IoT breakthrough. (See also: Legacy Tech Looks Toward an IoT Future.)
IoT M&A Spiked in Recent Years
As big tech players scramble to grab a piece of the booming IoT market, a series of headline acquisitions have taken place in the industry. The research firm Strategy Analytics reports that there were 12 major IoT acquisitions in 2010. That number jumped to 81 in 2015.
The growing chip-making industry is in a position to gain significant upside from an IoT boom. In light of the industry’s IoT exposure, leading chip makers have turned into aggressive strategic buyers for IoT plays. Intel Corp. (INTC) bought Altera in 2015, presumably for its attractive stake in the IoT and data-center end markets. Intel’s efforts to further bolster its IoT dominance include smaller acquisitions of Yogitech, Computer Vision and Itseez.
As other industry players seek revenue and customer diversification, they are both investing heavily in business restructurings and looking for outside partnerships and acquisitions. Cypress Semiconductor Corp. (CY) acquired Broadcom Ltd.’s (AVG) IoT arm for $550 billion in July while Silicon Laboratories Inc. (SLAB) paid an undisclosed sum for Micrium, a real-time operating system company.
Notable merger deals include SoftBank Group Corp’s (SFTBY) agreement to buy U.K. chip company ARM for $31 billion, causing a huge shake-up in the chip industry. Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) is another big tech player on an acquisition spree, taking over CloudLock and IoT platform Jasper Technologies for $1.4 billion.
The Bottom Line
As the Internet of Things takes its form in the new digital economy, niche startups and legacy IT companies alike are acting quickly to gain a share of the market. In a fast-growing industry, many tech companies have taken the express lane to growth via mergers and acquisitions. (See also: 3 Plays for the Booming IoT Space.)