Saga of Acquisitions

For past couple of months, the acquisition and legal departments of some major companies were in action. And I am sure this is just a beginning in what we are seeing as a trend now.

Acquisitions are not new to us. They happen for some reasons:

  • Bigger companies acquire small companies to keep up the pace of innovation and creativity.
  • Bigger companies want to supress competition.
  • Smaller companies want to make quick bucks.
  • VCs want a lucrative exit and what better than getting acquired by a well known company.
  • Founders want to become VPs of big MNC companies in no time and become famous and rich.

Having said what is acquisition? Acquisition does not come alone. It is generally tied to mergers and we generally call it Mergers and Acquisition. Wikipedia defines the term as “The phrase mergers and acquisitions (abbreviated M&A) refers to the aspect of corporate strategy, corporate finance and management dealing with the buying, selling and combining of different companies that can aid, finance, or help a growing company in a given industry grow rapidly without having to create another business entity”.

In actual terms, although often used synonymously, the terms merger and acquisition mean slightly different things. When one company takes over another and clearly establishes itself as the new owner, the purchase is called an acquisition. From a legal point of view, the target company ceases to exist, the buyer “swallows” the business and the buyer’s stock continues to be traded.

In the pure sense of the term, a merger happens when two firms agree to go forward as a single new company rather than remain separately owned and operated. This kind of action is more precisely referred to as a “merger of equals”. The firms are often of about the same size. Both companies’ stocks are surrendered and new company stock is issued in its place. For example, in the 1999 merger of Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham, both firms ceased to exist when they merged, and a new company, GlaxoSmithKline, was created.

I am sure you would agree with me that we don’t see mergers often and most of the times, it is acquisitions. So why acquisitions are gaining steam now?

As I say it to everyone who ask me about the recent acquisitions: This era is going to go into the history as one of the golden periods. People who will dare and innovate will create history and others would just continue to do what they do in their daily life. I am also doing my bit and I am trying and will continue to strive.

Recent acquisitions are examples of what I am saying: Microsoft buying Skype for whooping $8.5 Bn. But why Skype for such a huge amount? As experts have to be believed, the biggest reason behind this acquisition was fear of Google. Lets try to analyze this logic. If Google would have bought Skype, the most closest thing that I think Google would have done with Skype is to find a way to integrate Skype with Google Talk. This would have definitely helped Google a lot as Skype has a huge subscription base. And as far as I know personally, a lot of start-ups use it extensively for their business purposes.

Skype is a big story but for me, I felt excited and almost jumped out of my seat when I heard that Google acquired TalkBin. I know you might be thinking that who is TalkBin and whats so special about it. The excitement is not because Google acquired yet another start-up but TalkBin was 5-month old start-up when it got acquired.  Founded in December 2010 by Qasar Younis, Michael Ma, and Sunny Dhillo, TalkBin offers a platform that lets customers give immediate feedback to local businesses (users submit their opinions and critiques via mobile applications, and it looks like the businesses can read and respond to them from a web app). Now thats what I feel each one of us has to copy back in India. Working for an MNC is okay but ultimately such things are going to define our next generation.

On another note, Yahoo acquire IntoNow. IntoNow is a cool technology with an application that allows users to find, discuss and follow their favorite television programs. IntoNow has indexed more than five years of US based television programming, creating a rich database to build video discovery and programming experiences. IntoNow is able to identify content down to the airing, episode and time within the program as well as provide program information and links associated with it, all within a matter of seconds.

With so many things buzz and positive energy around, I feel the day for me is also going to come soon. It is just a matter of time. I want to be part of some exciting people, working and promoting a cool product and spending time among enthusiastic and aspirational people. I feel it is time for all of us to look beyond sitting inside AC in an MNC. Will we do it? Will I do it? I can’t answer that now. I completely understand that circumstances play a significant role in such initiatives but circumstances change and so do we.

Nevertheless, I re-iterate what I have mentioned in lot of my earlier posts. This era is going to go into the history as one of the amazing period and honestly, I want to be part of it and want to be part of in a big way. I urge all of you to do the same because that is the only way India can truly prosper. You will amazed to know that Small Medium Businesses in India comprises of 99% of all the business houses in India and 99% of these businesses contribute to more than 50% of India’s GDP. I predict that this number is going to go up from hereon and we will see some of us to dare to pursue their dreams out of the closed cubicles. Till then, enjoy 🙂


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