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European Share of World's Technology Mergers, Acquisitions Doubled in 1999
Posted: 25-Jan-2000 [Source: Bloomberg]

[Driven by the rapid consolidation of the mobile phone industry, Europe's share of industry mergers becomes 38% of the worldwide total.]

By Bundeep Singh Rangar, London -- Europe's share of computer, media and communications mergers doubled in 1999 to 38 percent of the $1.2 trillion worldwide total, driven by a rapid consolidation of the mobile-phone industry, Broadview International LLC said.

The U.S. investment bank said European companies completed $455 billion worth of takeovers, six times as much as in 1998. The number of transactions rose 30 percent to 2,271. Mobile phone company mergers, such as Mannesmann AG's $33 billion purchase of Orange Plc, were a quarter of the total.

Anticipated Internet growth also drove mergers, and led many companies to pay high multiples based on business potential rather than past performance. It cited Phone.com Inc.'s $239 million purchase of Northern Ireland's Apion Ltd., and Microsoft Corp.'s $130 million acquisition of Sweden's SendIT AB. ``The last year has seen a frantic race to acquire customers and build traffic,'' said Victor Basta, head of Broadview's European operations. ``The year ahead will have to be about building real revenue from this traffic.''

The trend was underscored by Cable & Wireless Plc's acquisition of eight Internet service providers for about $500 million.

More than half of all mergers were a combination of stock and cash, compared with 41 percent in 1998. That is because the rise in value of Internet stocks made them an attractive currency for acquisitions.

European companies made 229 acquisitions in Europe for a total of $86 billion, representing a 55 percent increase in number and a tripling of value.

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