Pace of VC-Backed M&A Stalls in Q3

For venture-backed tech M&A, the third quarter started with a bang and ended with a whimper.

After a few large deals in July, things petered out in August and September, as the usual list of big technology acquirers opted to hang on to their cash reserves.

There was not a single newly announced venture-backed technology deal with a disclosed purchase price above $100 million in September, according to Thomson Reuters data. The biggest disclosed acquisition? Roomba-maker iRobot’s $74 million purchase of venture-backed rival Evolution Robotics.

August wasn’t much better, with just one sale with a disclosed price surpassing $100 million: Turner Broadcasting’s $175 million purchase of sports site Bleacher Report. (The med-tech sector, however, fared a bit better, with one big exit:  the sale of Elevation Pharmaceuticals, a developer of therapies for respiratory ailments, to Sunovion Pharmaceuticals for $430 million.)

That’s a sharp contrast to July, which provided plenty of big deals. Two of the biggest came from the virtual networking space. Top among them was VMWare’s $1.26 billion purchase of Nicira Networks, a developer of virtual networking infrastructure. Another apparently large deal, albeit one with an undisclosed price, was Oracle’s acquisition of Xsigo Systems, a provider of network virtualization technologies for managing cloud-based infrastructure and operations.

Brazilian card payment processor Cielo SA provided another big exit. In early July, the company announced it is buying Merchant e-Solutions, a Redwood City, Calif.-based payment technology provider, for $670 million. Sony was the source of another big acquisition, announcing in late July that it bought online gaming service GaiKai for $380 million.

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