The outlook for technology mergers and acquisitions will improve next year, and companies offering cloud services will command the highest prices, according to a survey from Deloitte.
The research firm explained in a new report that the use of auctions when selling companies will increase, as will the amount of private equity being invested.
Much of the new vigour will be the result of emerging government IT strategies that have created new business opportunities for fresher and more innovative firms.
There is likely to be increased interest in UK firms from investors in India and China, according to Deloitte, but US firms will remain the dominant buyers.
Only a quarter of respondents believe that M&A deals in 2001 will be " distressed driven", down from 40 per cent in an earlier survey.
"It is encouraging that M&A optimism has increased, even if some of the significant premiums paid on a number of well-publicised deals may lead to some prospective acquirers deciding to sit things out," said Conor Cahill, technology corporate finance partner at Deloitte.
"Cash rich corporate acquirers continue to consolidate the market with an accelerated migration towards cloud-related technologies."
Deloitte identified a number of "hot sectors" including virtualisation, mobile applications, diagnostics tools and security software.
"The favoured sectors that will attract a premium are those that support and embrace cloud-based solutions, while diagnostics software is particularly important to understand changes in customer behaviour," said Cahill.
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