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The Game of Thrones in the digital world

Mun Yi Lee, Associate at Olswang Asia | April 10, 2014
The M&A activity in the technology sector looks likely to continue throughout 2014, as the biggest names in technology industry are aware of what is at stake in a winner-takes-all market.

On the Asian front, various technology companies are also gearing up to give their western counterparts a run for their money. Samsung has made no secret that it is intending to diversify from consumer electronics. In the past few years, Samsung has expanded its portfolio with acquisitions of companies involved in medical equipment, LCD displays, software storage and cloud based music service. Rakuten, the Japanese ecommerce and Internet company, has also been active in growing its business by investing in Pinterest, purchasing e-book and VOD service businesses, as well as more recently acquiring Viber, a cross-platform instant messaging voice-over-Internet Protocol application, for $900 million.

Many market watchers have also focused their attention on Chinese technology companies, which are growing with remarkable speed. Tencent's businesses which include popular social messaging platform WeChat, saw its market valuation rise to $101 billion in September 2013 and is one of the largest Internet companies in the world. In January 2014, it was announced that Baidu, China's top search engine, has a market capitalisation of roughly $55 billion - no mean feat for a company less than 15 years old. The Financial Times recently reported that Alibaba, the China-based e-commerce firm has undertaken deals worth more than $2 billion, expanding its portfolio to include map makers, social media sites, web browsers and logistics firms. The company is poised for an IPO this year, which analysts say could value it at more than $100 billion.

Technology startups, whose businesses have synergy with the biggest technology players in the world, are waking up to the figures they are able to command, as the internet giants fight for greater market share. This is likely to be a long game and the M&A activity in the technology sector looks likely to continue throughout 2014, as the biggest names in technology industry are aware of what is at stake in a winner-takes-all market.

 

 

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