In a slow year for enterprise tech M&A, there were few standout deals

Cisco was the most active company

It’s that time of year when we look back at the year’s biggest tech M&A deals. Typically by this time, the usual acquisitive suspects like Microsoft, Salesforce, Adobe, SAP Oracle and Cisco have taken at least a few big swings. But this year, only Cisco took a big bite, ultimately announcing 11 total deals.

SAP made a couple smaller deals, but Microsoft, Salesforce, Adobe and Oracle mostly stayed on the sidelines this year. The $61 billion Broadcom-VMware deal announced in May 2022 finally closed last month, and Adobe and Figma agreed to end their $20 billion deal this month, which has been stuck in regulatory limbo since it was announced in September 2022.

It’s not our imagination that there are fewer deals from the biggest players. CB Insights reported zero deals in Q3 this year from Big Tech. Compare that with 2019, when there were 10 such deals in Q3, or with 2020, when there were eight.

Chart showing number of M&A deals by big tech companies from 2019 until today. In the most recent quarter, Q3 2023, there were zero deals.

Image Credits: CB Insights

Perhaps the high cost of borrowing put a damper on the deals we saw in 2023. Long gone are the days of 2020 when the top deals totaled $165 billion. This year it was just $67.7 billion, the lowest total we’ve seen since 2019’s all-time low of $40 billion, the second year we compiled these top deal lists.

It’s worth noting that a good number of the deals this year involved private equity firms either buying companies or selling them off at a nice profit.

Maybe the smaller deals involving AI mattered more, like Atlassian buying Loom for $975 million; Salesforce acquiring for an undisclosed amount, one of only two small acquisitions this year; or Snowflake nabbing AI search company Neeva, also for an undisclosed amount.

Regardless, here’s what the top 10 enterprise deals looked like this year from cheapest to most costly:

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