Acquisitions lead the path to expansion and growth for companies, as well as their reach to consumers. This week, a lot of big companies finalized, announced or showed intent for acquiring companies that would supplement their own business’ needs, or just to eliminate the competition.
The PC company finalized their Autonomy acquisition for $10.3 billion earlier this week. The deal is HP’s way of saying that they will be focusing more on the software side of the business. HP CEO Meg Whitman said that this will probably be the company’s last acquisition with such a huge valuation.
Big Blue acquired Waltham, Massachusetts-based Q1 Labs, a global provider of high-value, cost-effective next-generation security intelligence products. Q1 Labs CEO Brendan Hannigan will join and lead the new IBM Security Systems division. The acquisition will help IBM in their goal to provide intelligently secured enterprises and analytics with Q1’s flagship software, QRadar.
IBM also announced the completion of their acquisition of Cambridge, UK-based i2, the leading provider of intelligence and investigation management software for law enforcement, defense, national security and private sector organizations.
Nuance, the company known for the popular Dragon dictation software, acquired Seattle-based startup Swype, for $102.5 million. Nuance already paid $77.5 million and will settle the $25 million balance 18 months after closing the deal. Swype is known for their touch screen-based predictive text technology, which allows people to draw or swipe (hence the name) characters instead of typing individual buttons on a graphical keyboard. Swype is in direct competition with Nuance’s T9 predictive text technology which, ironically, was created by Swype co-founder Cliff Kushler.
Nuance recently acquired Turin, an Italy-based innovator in award-winning voice technologies (speech recognition, speech synthesis, speaker verification and identification), Loquendo, a wholly owned subsidiary of Telecom Italia. The acquisition will advance the proliferation of voice-enabled solutions and accelerate the development of new capabilities that deliver natural, conversational interactions between consumers and the contact center, automobiles, mobile phones, and other consumer devices worldwide. Given the iPhone 4′s Siri integration, it’s evident voice-recognition is going to be an important part of consumer electronics in the future.
Sony is said to be in talks with long-time partner Telefon AB LM Ericsson, as their 10-year joint venture contract will be expiring soon. Sony wants to buyout Ericsson’s stake in the mobile joint venture in order to catch up with competitors. Analyst Yoshiharu Izumi of J.P. Morgan in Tokyo said that the buyout could amount to $1.3 billion. Both parties declined to comment since the companies haven’t officially announced anything yet. Sony shareholders appear to be queasy about the deal as stocks went down 3.3% at ¥1,422 ($18.5) on Friday afternoon while shares in Sweden’s Ericsson gained on the report and closed 6% higher on Thursday.