Mergers and acquisitions involving Israeli high-tech companies rose 44 percent to $7.2 billion in 2015, the highest level since 2006, but stock market listings were down as fewer companies chose to go public, consultancy PwC said on Wednesday.
The number of initial public offerings fell to eight this year, valued at $3.5 billion, compared with 18 worth $9.8 billion in 2014, when one company alone, Mobileye NV, raised $5.3 billion.
In contrast, the number of M&A deals rose to 62 from 52. The most active buyer was Microsoft with five acquisitions in 2015.
“This increase is driven by continued appetite by large multinationals to use their massive cash holdings to acquire innovative future technologies,” Rubi Suliman, head of high-tech at PwC in Israel, said.
He said the window of opportunity for IPOs in the United States and the United Kingdom had narrowed and also Israeli companies had found it easier this year to raise private money with higher valuations, making it less attractive to go public.
“When the public markets do not give the higher valuation, the number of IPOs is set to go down,” he said, adding that M&A activity was expected to remain strong in 2016.