Tech M&A Round Up - 2nd August 2019

Deliveroo acquires Scottish firm, Cultivate – Creates Edinburgh tech hub
Edinburgh, Scotland – 1st August 2019 - Deliveroo, one of Europe's fastest-growing technology companies, has acquired Edinburgh-based software design and development firm, Cultivate. Deliveroo will use the acquisition of Cultivate, who have already built a world-class reputation in software development, to create a tech hub in Edinburgh, the company's first UK tech office outside of its London HQ. Deliveroo and Cultivate have established a strong relationship in recent years, with the Scottish tech consultancy helping to build the payments systems which handle the millions of transactions the food delivery giant's marketplace oversees every day. Deliveroo and Cultivate will seek to develop new ways to improve payment processes to riders and restaurants, building on Deliveroo's 'Cash Out' feature which allows riders to access their earnings immediately. Deliveroo and Cultivate will also work to develop new ways to offer financial support, for example to help riders save and help restaurants manage their cash flow.

Salesforce Completes Acquisition of Tableau
San Francisco, California 1st August 2019 – CRM company, Salesforce, has announced it has completed its acquisition of Tableau Software, combining its global CRM with Tableau’s analytics platform to supercharge customers’ digital transformations. The merger will accelerate Salesforce’s opportunity in the $1.8 trillion digital transformation space and customers will be able to unlock even greater value from their data to drive smarter business decisions and more intelligent customer experiences. In addition, Tableau will be positioned to further its mission to help the world see and understand data. “Tableau is an extraordinary company, with an amazing product and team and an incredibly passionate community,” Marc Benioff, Chairman and co-CEO, Salesforce, said: “Together we can transform the way people understand not only their customers, but their whole world - delivering powerful AI-driven insights across all types of data and use cases for people of every skill level." Dan Vesset, Group VP of Analytics and Information Management Research at IDC, commented: “The ability to rapidly turn all distributed data into insight using diverse visualization, analytics and AI methods will define tomorrow’s leaders. Salesforce’ acquisition of Tableau gives customers the ability to ensure that self-service and embedded decision support and augmentation is available to all executives, managers and front line employees.”

Thoma Bravo to Acquire JD Power
San Francisco and Chicago – 30th July 2019 - Thoma Bravo, LLC, a private equity investment firm, has announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire J.D. Power, a global data analytics and consumer intelligence organisation. The transaction is expected to close by year end. Upon closing, Thoma Bravo plans to partner with J.D. Power's existing team in the ongoing expansion of the company, with a focus on continued development of enhanced industry insights, advanced analytics and innovative new offerings. As part of the transaction, J.D. Power's existing management team and employee owners will be rolling over their ownership interest in the company. "We are thrilled to partner with Thoma Bravo, a firm that clearly understands our space and is well-positioned to help us develop new growth opportunities and continue on our current path of rapid expansion," said Dave Habiger, J.D. Power President and CEO. A pioneer in data science, J.D. Power has been delivering incisive industry intelligence on consumer interactions with brands and products for over 50 years. The world's leading businesses across more than a dozen different industries rely on J.D. Power data, research and insights to guide their customer-facing strategies..

Sphera Signs Agreement to Acquire thinkstep, a Prominent Sustainability & Product Stewardship Software Company
Stuttgart, Germany - 30th July 2019 - Sphera, a global provider of Integrated Risk Management software and information services with a focus on Environmental Health & Safety, Operational Risk and Product Stewardship, has announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire thinkstep, a Stuttgart, Germany-based software and consulting services company that specializes in Corporate Sustainability and Product Stewardship. In recent years, thinkstep successfully transformed its business model into a Software-as-a-Service-based solution by following an attractive growth trajectory. Combined with thinkstep's exceptional client base, this transition allowed it to take a major step forward in the company´s development. "thinkstep's cloud-based and on-premise software, data and expertise in the corporate sustainability and product stewardship markets advance our mission of creating a safer, more sustainable and productive world," said Paul Marushka, Sphera's President and CEO. thinkstep also extends Sphera’s in APAC & EMEA.

Ford Smart Mobility Acquires Journey Holding
Dearborn, Michigan - 30th July 2019 -  Ford Smart Mobility LLC (FSM), a division of Ford Motor Company, has announced an agreement to acquire Journey Holding Corporation, to support its commitment to deliver integrated solutions that support cities and their transportation systems. Journey Holding, a technology company that specializes in software solutions for intelligent transportation systems, will integrate its offerings with FSM’s TransLoc, a provider of technology solutions for on-demand and fixed route systems for public and private transit operations. Journey Holding CEO Justin Rees will lead the new operation. Commenting, Brett Wheatley, Vice President Ford Mobility Marketing and Growth, said: “The combination of these transit technology companies will accelerate our efforts to help cities deliver more seamless, productive, and accessible transportation solutions to their citizens and visitors. It also will be key to connecting customers with the other mobility solutions in our portfolio, such as Spin e-scooters and our GoRide Health service.”

Ford Acquires Quantum Signal to Advance Self-Driving Vehicle Development
Michigan - 30th July 2019 - To further advance its goal of launching a self-driving vehicle business, Ford has acquired Quantum Signal and will make use of its extensive experience in real-time simulation and algorithm development to develop its Transportation as a Service (TaaS) platform, as well as vehicle controls that support the customer experience, functional safety and other vehicle systems. The wide range of the group’s work portfolio means it will be able to support Ford in numerous areas as the company develops self-driving vehicles and transportation as a service business, including software development and hardware prototyping.

Microsoft Acquires BlueTalon: Building the Next Generation of Cloud Data Governance
29th July 2019 - Microsoft has announced that it has purchased BlueTalon, a start-up focused on data access, control and security. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, though prior to the transaction, Blue Talon had raised around $27.4 million (according to CrunchBase). Eric Tilenius, CEO of BlueTalon, commented, in the company blog: “As we began exploring partnership opportunities with various hyperscale cloud providers to better serve our customers, Microsoft deeply impressed us. The Azure Data team was uniquely thoughtful and visionary when it came to data governance. We found them to be the perfect fit for us in both mission and culture. So when Microsoft asked us to join forces, we jumped at the opportunity." In the Microsoft company blog, Rohan Kumar, Corporate Vice President, Azure Data said: “Together with BlueTalon, we are committed to help enterprises become data-driven companies in a secure and compliant manner. We’re excited to welcome the BlueTalon team to Microsoft and can’t wait to get started.”

WeWork to acquire Workplace Real Estate Platform SpaceIQ
WeWork, the owner of co-working spaces across the globe, is in talks to acquire real estate-focused software start-up SpaceIQ, according to people familiar with the matter. A deal for SpaceIQ, a Silicon Valley-based developer of management and analytics software for making efficient use of office space, could help WeWork convince Wall Street that it’s at least somewhat of a technology company as it gears up for an IPO. In April, WeWork said that it had confidentially filed for a public offering, and the Wall Street Journal reported this month that the debut is planned for September. As the deal is private, potential terms of the deal have not been divulged. SpaceIQ has raised about $11.5 million in venture funding.

Trax acquires Planorama
Singapore – 29th July 2019 - Trax, a global provider of computer vision and analytics solutions for retail, has announced its acquisition of Planorama, Europe's top supplier of image recognition services for retail execution and merchandising for Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies. The acquisition will build upon the significant depth and breadth of foundation already in place to serve CPG customers globally, by expanding customer reach and making available a comprehensive set of in-store execution tools to the market. CPG brands and retailers rely on Trax's in-store execution solutions, market measurement and analytics services, which are powered by proprietary fine-grained image recognition, machine learning and IOT platforms – to turn photos of retail shelves into granular, actionable shelf and store-level insights. Planorama leverages deep learning-based image recognition to offer a full range of CPG-centric solutions to build merchandising recommendations, monitor POS compliance, or learn from shelf insights to continuously improve the perfect store journey.

Bain Capital Merges ChinData with Bridge Data Centres to Establish Pan-Asian Data Centre Strategy Hong Kong – 25th July 2019 – Bain Capital has announced the merger of ChinData, a Chinese operator of campus-style, hyperscale data centres, and Bridge Data Centres, a wholesale and custom build data centre company, to form one of the leading pan-Asian data centre platforms. The new parent Company, ChinData Group, will continue to operate under the ChinData and Bridge brands respectively. Bain Capital acquired ChinData in May 2019 from Wangsu Science & Technology Co. Ltd and has owned Bridge Data Centres since 2017. The combined company delivers hyperscale, wholesale and custom-build data centre solutions to leading regional and global customers, with facilities in China, India, and Southeast Asia.  Jonathan Zhu, co-head of Asia Private Equity for Bain Capital, said: “This deal demonstrates Bain Capital’s capabilities as a truly cross-regional, multi-asset class investment platform.  The combined entity brings together the best minds to power the Asian data revolution, especially in China and India, the two largest and most promising markets globally.”

Colony Capital Acquires Digital Bridge Holdings For $325 Million - Announces Planned Strategic Initiatives To Become The Premier Platform For Digital Infrastructure And Real Estate
Los Angeles – 25th July 2019 - Colony Capital, Inc. a global investment management firm, has  announced that it has acquired Digital Bridge Holdings LLC for $325 million as part of Colony’s strategic evolution into the leading owner and investment manager of assets, businesses and investment management products in which the digital and real estate frontiers intersect. The Digital Bridge acquisition follows the May 2019 final closing of Digital Colony Partners, a $4.05 billion fund sponsored by Colony and Digital Bridge. Digital Colony Partners is dedicated to global opportunities in digital infrastructure and is the largest first-time institutional fund of this type. This acquisition continues Colony’s strategy of building leading investment management platforms, adding a powerful focus on assets and businesses that benefit from the increasingly digital world, including communications infrastructure, quant-driven listed securities products, artificial intelligence, digital credit products, smart logistics industrial, private equity and emerging markets infrastructure and growth equity strategies.

Alibaba Now Exclusive Provider of Salesforce CRM in Greater China
24th July 2019 - Alibaba is now the exclusive provider of Salesforce CRM in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, Salesforce has announced at the Alibaba Cloud Summit Shanghai. Salesforce said it would bring the world’s number one CRM, including Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Commerce Cloud and Salesforce Platform, to customers in those markets, exclusively through Alibaba Cloud. In addition, Salesforce will become the exclusive enterprise CRM sold by Alibaba in those markets. “At Salesforce, customer success is at the center of everything we do. And more and more of our multinational customers are asking us to support them wherever they do business around the world,” said Ryan Aytay, the company’s executive Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and co-CEO of enterprise-collaboration platform, Quip. “With Alibaba’s strong, advanced and secure cloud infrastructure network and insight into the Chinese market, both parties will provide the best localized solutions for our global customers.”

03 August 2019