Companies spent $39.7bn buying a total of 1,289 dead or dying dotcoms last year, according to Webmergers, the online marketplace for technology buyers and sellers.
About eight per cent of that total was made up of asset sales of bankrupt and shutdown dotcoms, accounting for 230 deals with a value of $3.3bn in total. The rest was spend on companies that were still trading, but were good value because of the low market valuation of dotcoms.
During the year buyers were more interested than usual in snapping up internet infrastructure technology that enables online commerce. They spent $19.9bn to buy 575 firms that provide ebusiness software and network tools, for example.
Infrastructure purchases made up half of spending and 45 per cent of all deals in the year, Webmergers said.
But internet content and ecommerce sites were less popular and the size of the deals was smaller. "Investors soured on content and ecommerce sites," the report said, but added that the recent $435m offer by Yahoo for online recruitment site Hot Jobs could indicate a turnaround in that trend.
Big name vendors like IBM, PeopleSoft, Siebel Systems, Microsoft and SAP did some shopping too, the low valuations of web companies giving them the chance to fill out their product lines.
Falling stock prices led to the cancellation of some deals, including Ariba's attempted purchase of Agile Software for $2.5bn early last year.
But Webmergers remains optimistic about the prospects for the internet sector next year with signs of the market stabilising.
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