The Internet wave has fuelled an explosion in this year?s European IT mergers and acquisitions activity.
The value of buy-outs and mergers leapt 40 per cent to $71.7 billion, compared with 1995?s figure of $51.2 billion, according to year end calculations by Broadview Associates, the IT mergers and acquisitions consultancy.
It estimates there have been more than 320 Internet-related deals worldwide in 1996 - double last year?s figure. Examples include Maid?s acquisition of access provider Easynet, MFS Communications? purchase of UUNet and AT&T?s takeover of Dutch Internet service provider, PTT Telecom Netherlands. ?Demand for customer access, Internet infrastructure development, Web site development and security, and digital distribution are key drivers behind this activity,? said the company.
Internet mergers are contributing to major telecomm services deals, a sector where the value rose by 56 per cent to $31.4 billion. The telecomms segment is restructuring on a worldwide basis with some of the largest deals ever, including BT?s merger with MCI, and the revamping of AT&T Europe.
The UK remains the most active market for European IT mergers and acquisitions, representing approximately 43 per cent of total European activity, followed by France (19 per cent), Scandinavia (15 per cent) and Germany (14 per cent).
US buyers continued to have a major impact on Europe. With US stock markets at all-time highs, US buyers accounted for around 23 per cent of the activity. Notable acquisitions include GE Captial?s purchase of Compunet, Germany?s largest Var, CHS Electronic?s $154 million acquisition of Merisel Europe and the $140 million buyout of Data Sciences by IBM.
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