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Best Tech Acquisitions of All Time
Most notable products from tech companies were originally acquisitions. Free cash flow means fast-growing startups can acquire to expand or acquire to turn a flywheel. For companies like Google, any company that provided more data or more searches was a prime target for acquisition. Here's a list of some some everyday products that we know and associate with large tech companies that started somewhere else.
Acquiree Acquirer Price Year PowerPoint Microsoft $14M 1987 Photoshop Adobe $35M 1995 Chipsoft (TurboTax) Intuit $225M 1993 86-DOS Microsoft $50,000 1981 Android Google $50M 2005 Pixar Steve Jobs $10M 1986 YouTube Google $1.65B 2006 Instagram Facebook $1B 2012 eBay PayPal $1.5B 2002 Applied Semantics (Google AdSense) Google $102M 2003 NeXT (Steve Jobs) Apple $400M 1996 VMWare EMC $635M 2003 Booking.com Priceline $135M 2005 DoubleClick Google $3.1B 2007 Where2 (Google Maps) Google <$50M 2004 WhatsApp Facebook $19B 2014 Venmo Braintree $26M 2012
Some honorable mentions:
"Too early to tell" where they rank, but some more recent acquisitions.
Twitch/Amazon – $970M, 2014
GitHub/Microsoft – $7.5B, 2018
Mojang (Minecraft)/Microsoft – $2.5B, 2014
ARM/Softbank – $31B, 2016
Deepmind/Google – $500M, 2014
Not true acquisitions, but investments that owned a substantial part of a growing business.
Naspers (a South African publishing company) acquired 46.5% of Tencent in 2001 for only $34M.
Tencent acquired 40% of Epic Games in 2012 for $330M
Softbank acquired 34% of Alibaba in 2000 for $20M.