Landmark Telecom Deal Drives Technology M&A to Post-recession High in Q1 2011 - Slide 9

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VC-backed companies saw a burst of activity as acquirers bought 177 venture-backed companies, almost as many as in Q1 2010 and Q1 2009 combined.

Bolstered by AT&T’s (NYSE:T) massive bid for T-Mobile USA, technology acquirers set a new post-recession spending high in the first quarter of 2011, shelling out $84 billion to acquire 881 companies. This announced spending level is one-third more than the previous post-downturn high-water mark of $62 billion set in Q2 2010, and the highest level of M&A spending since Q2 2008, according to the 451 M&A KnowledgeBase, a technology-focused M&A transaction database provided by leading industry analyst and data firm The 451 Group.

The quarter’s game-changing deal came in late March with AT&T’s proposed $39 billion purchase of T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom (NYSE:DT), the largest technology-related transaction in a half-decade.

Even without that landmark telecom deal, however, Q1 deal flow was on track to exceed the preceding quarter, despite global turmoil that included the tragic tsunami in Japan and ongoing revolutions in the Middle East. March was especially active, with big-ticket acquirers other than AT&T driving deal flow to its highest levels since last summer. Those buyers announced nine deals valued at $1 billion or more in March alone, compared to just six billion-dollar-plus transactions for January and February combined.

Despite these record-setting totals, a number of tech giants – including Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), Symantec (Nasdaq: SYMC), EMC (NYSE: EMC), Nokia (NYSE: NOK) and even typically highly active Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) – sat out the first quarter, announcing no deals at all.

This slideshow highlights notable technology M&A transaction for Q1 2011.

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