In 2014, a total of 358 European technology companies had an exit of some sort – an acquisition, merger or initial public offering (IPO).
The large majority of exits were acquisitions, and overwhelmingly so: only 4.75% of the exits we tracked in 2014 were IPOs.
Another noteworthy finding: the 125 deals (35% of the total exits tracked) that came with a price tag, which is to say its size was disclosed, amounted to a total of €80.14 billion (or almost $90 billion).
Note that this was primarily driven by consolidation in the telco/ISP space (see Altice-SFR, Ziggo, ONO etc.) but it wasn’t the only driver. Also contributing to that total number significantly were IPOs by the likes of King, Markit, Rocket Internet, Zalando, Just Eat and Zoopla, and major acquisitions such as Microsoft’s purchase of Mojang and Qualcomm’s takeover of British chipmaker CSR.
It’s very difficult (read: impossible) to estimate the total tally of all European tech exits in 2014, considering that we don’t know the size of the transaction in 233 of the cases. That said, if we were to take €6.4 million per exit on average for the undisclosed deals – which is 10% of the average exit value for the 125 disclosed deals – the total is somewhere near €95 billion.
In terms of verticals, it’s clear that certain categories dominated, namely ‘Enterprise SaaS’, followed by ‘Adtech’, ‘Gaming’, ‘Security’ and ‘E-commerce’.
Looking at business models, it’s clear European tech firms operating a business-to-business (B2B) model were more successful in terms of exits: only about 40% of exited companies have a B2C model.
Most of the European technology companies that had an exit in 2014 were not backed by venture capital. In fact, our data shows that only just over one-third of deals involved a company that was VC-funded – more specifically, for 130 of the 358 deals.
US companies are the most active buyers of European tech companies, by a margin. Approximately 37% of all acquisitions tracked by tech.eu in 2014 were made by a US-based company, or 122 deals in total. That’s far ahead of #2, German companies, which made 40 acquisitions in Europe last year.
Speaking of Germany, that’s also the country with the most ‘domestic’ company exits in Europe: 59, compared to 54 in the United Kingdom, although we should note the UK had significantly more major ‘home runs’ (8 out of the 20 largest exits in 2014 involved a UK company).
Google acquired the most European tech companies in 2014 (8 in total), followed by Microsoft, Yandex and Facebook. Qualcomm rounds out the top 5.
This is just a small taste of the data and analysis that went into the full report, which you can buy here for £1,200. For more information about the report, read this article. And please spread the word. 😉
Update – some of the coverage out there:
“Google acquired the most European tech companies in 2014 (8), followed by Microsoft, Yandex and Facebook” (Tech Editor, EMEA for The Wall Street Journal)
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