Business Technology

Sunday 4 December 2016

Microsoft buys LinkedIn for €26bn: So where does it sit in comparison with four other mega tech deals?

Published 14/06/2016 | 09:58

Traders gather for the opening of LinkedIn Corp at the post where it is traded on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
Traders gather for the opening of LinkedIn Corp at the post where it is traded on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange

Microsoft announced the biggest tech deal of the year after it agreed to acquire LinkedIn in a deal worth $26.2bn (€23.2bn) but sums this size are sometimes categorised amongst the "mad money" sector.

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What does the size of the deal actually mean and where does it place LinkedIn amongst the biggest deals in tech? To give some initial context when Facebook set its eyes on instant messaging app Snapchat it tabled a $3bn bid.

That bid was subsequently rejected and following a recent capital raise Evan Spiegel's disappearing picture app is now valued at around $18bn.

The cynic in us might point out that Microsoft announced the deal on the day of Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference but nonetheless here are the five biggest deals in tech to date.

1) Dell buys EMC

The biggest deal to date. Michael Dell announced last year that his company would be snapping up data storage maker EMC for a measly $63bn, pittance really.

The deal was particularly poignant here in Ireland as Dell at the time employed around 2,300 people here while EMC boasted a headcount of around 3,000.

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2) HP scoops Compaq

Back in 2002, which is 14 years ago just to make you feel old, Hewlett Packard added Compaq to its portfolio in a deal valued at around $25bn. Like most mergers there was a culling and the company said it would look to let around 15,000 people go.

HP has a similar origins story to Apple, kicked off in a garage in Silicon Valley it didn't quite end up endearing itself to the masses quite like Mr Jobs' Apple.

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3) LinkedIn gets picked up by Microsoft

Ah here it is. Third on the list of the biggest acquisitions in tech history Monday's announcement has place both companies in tech folklore, well even more so than they currently are.

The deal has been met with a lot of curiosity but with a track record of Nokia's smartphone division in Microsoft's recent past there may too be a smidgen of doubt.

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4) Facebook and WhatsApp

Mark Zuckerberg picking up WhatsApp for $19.1bn is proving to be a real coup for Facebook, which leaves the company in control of two of the world's biggest messaging apps.

With bots on the way and plenty of plans to make Messenger the one stop social media shop we shouldn't be surprised if this deal turns out to be a shrewd one.

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5) HP and EDS

Not as far back as the Compaq deal but  in 2008 HP splashed out on another major acquisition. This time it paid $13.9bn for tech services firm EDS.

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