Back To School Exits

Everyone said the 2008 summer doldrums were going to result in the worst exit environment since the Internet bubble crashed.  After the first half of the year produced one of the worst 6 months for VC-backed IPOs in recent history, the anemic results were bound to trickle down into the M&A market during the slow summer months.


I spent the last few weeks in Israel (pleasure, not business) and so left a pile of non-urgent emails from PE Week, VentureWire, etc. in the “post-vacation” reading folder.  After reading through them in one sitting (something I don't recommend trying at home), I was surprised to piece together the data.  To my surprise, there have been a good number of summer exits, providing some optimism during an otherwise grim economic picture as we head "Back to School".

It appears that high-quality corporate buyers are still trolling for acquisitions and opening up their pocket books where start-ups with traction can be found.  Here’s my accounting of the situation (blend of public and private data):

  • SBA Communications acquires Optasite for $430m
  • Microsoft acquires DATAllegro for $240m
  • Cisco acquires PostPath for $215m
  • Nuance acquires SNAPin for $180m
  • Belden acquires Trapeze for $133m
  • Comcast acquires Daily Candy for $125m
  • Cisco acquires Pure Networks for $120m
  • BT acquires Ribbit for $105m
  • Monster acquires Trovix for $72.5m
  • Publicis acquires Performix for undisclosed amount, but likely north of $100m

This isn’t to say that many VC-backed companies aren’t affected by the economic environment – of course they are.  As a VC mentor of mine once said – when the NASDAQ is down 30%, I know I’m down 30%, I just don’t know where!  That said, it was nice to see a few glimmers of light in the dark tunnel of 2008.  Perhaps we'll see more of the same between now and year-end?

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