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The Big Five: Largest Acquisitions by Tech Company

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Big Tech Company Acquisitions

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The Big Five: Largest Acquisitions by Tech Company

The Big Five tech giants, or “FAAMG”—Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Google (Alphabet)—have a combined market capitalization of over $4 trillion.

These powerful tech behemoths often devour the talent, technology, or entire businesses of aspiring competitors. Given their financial weight, mergers and acquisitions have become a key tactic in maintaining their strong grip on tech supremacy.

Today’s Chart of the Week explores the world’s most powerful tech companies and their biggest acquisitions to date.

Which Acquisitions Were a Success?

While these tech giants may have had big aspirations for these exceedingly large deals, they have mixed success rates.

Microsoft

Microsoft made its big move 2016 to buy LinkedIn for $26.2 billion, and it’s the most sizable acquisition by any of the Big Five tech companies.

Microsoft’s 5 Biggest Acquisitions:

Acquisition (Year)AmountCategory
LinkedIn (2016)$26.2 billionSocial Media
Skype (2011)$8.5 billionTelecommunications
GitHub (2018)$7.5 billionSoftware
Nokia (2014)$7.2 billionTelecommunications
aQuantive (2007)$6.3 billionMarketing

The LinkedIn deal was made due to the synergy between the two companies’ offerings, and Microsoft’s desire to gain access to LinkedIn’s 575 million members.

However, not all of Microsoft’s acquisitions have been as successful, such as its 2014 purchase of Nokia’s Devices & Services business for $7.2 billion. This seemed like a smart move at the time, considering the Finnish company held 41% of the global handset market.

Yet, Microsoft sold the asset for a mere $350 million just two years later. Microsoft shifted its strategy and exited the feature phone market, choosing to focus on a narrow, niche market for their hardware.

Amazon

Amazon has closed more than $20 billion in acquisitions and investments since 2017. This includes the purchase of Whole Foods, which Amazon bought for $13.7 billion, and is the company’s largest acquisition to date.

Amazon’s 5 Biggest Acquisitions:

Acquisition (Year)AmountCategory
Whole Foods (2017)$13.7 billionRetail
Zappos (2009)$1.2 billionRetail
Ring (2018)$1.2 billionTechnology
PillPack (2018)$1 billionPharmaceuticals
Twitch (2014)$970 millionSocial Media

From purchases to bolster the AI of smart assistant Alexa, to Wi-Fi enabled doorbell Ring, recent additions clearly show the company intends to cement its presence in people’s homes.

After acquiring Whole Foods, Amazon began offering store discounts to Prime customers, in an attempt to bundle its home offerings and provide a more holistic customer experience.

Alphabet

Alphabet has made several daring moves into the hardware and data science sectors. The company’s biggest acquisition was Motorola, which it bought in 2012 for $12.5 billion.

Alphabet’s 5 Biggest Acquisitions:

Acquisition (Year)AmountCategory
Motorola (2012)$12.5 billionTelecommunications
Nest (2014)$3.2 billionTechnology
DoubleClick (2007)$3.1 billionMarketing
Looker (2019)$2.6 billionSoftware
YouTube (2006)$1.7 billionSocial Media

However, the purchase of Motorola was a bet that didn’t pay off. Alphabet sold off much of Motorola’s assets for less than $3 billion in 2014, a little less than two years after it had originally acquired it.

Alphabet continues to consolidate its acquisitions in order to simplify its organizational structure. DoubleClick, acquired in 2007, merged with Google Analytics 360 Suite under the Google Marketing Platform—making it easier for marketers to access their metrics using one platform.

Apple

Out of the Big Five companies, Apple has the fewest acquisitions over $1 billion. Its largest purchase was for Beats Electronics, which it acquired for $3 billion in 2014.

Apple’s 5 Biggest Acquisitions

Acquisition (Year)AmountCategory
Beats (2014)$3 billionMusic
Dialog Semiconductor (2018)$600 millionManufacturing
Anobit (2011)$500 millionManufacturing
Shazam (2017)$400 millionMusic
NeXT Computer (1996)$400 millionTechnology

Apple’s increasing music streaming efforts have been evident, with the acquisition of Shazam three years after it purchased Beats Electronics.

In an intriguing recent turn of events, Apple recently announced it will acquire the majority of Intel’s smartphone modem business. This $1 billion deal will allow Apple to build all of its devices in-house, and better prepare the iPhone for the upcoming 5G push.

Facebook

Facebook’s largest acquisition has been WhatsApp Messenger, which it purchased for $22 billion in 2014. The WhatsApp acquisition is the second largest of the Big Five, following Microsoft’s LinkedIn purchase.

Facebook’s 5 Biggest Acquisitions:

Acquisition (Year)AmountCategory
WhatsApp (2014)$22 billionSocial Media
Oculus (2014)$2 billionTechnology
Instagram (2012)$1 billionSocial Media
LiveRail (2014)$500 millionMarketing
Onavo (2013)$200 millionAnalytics

Aside from absorbing any competitors who encroach on Facebook’s turf—such as WhatsApp and Instagram—Facebook’s takeovers have been aimed at venturing into uncharted territory. The acquisition of virtual reality manufacturer, Oculus, is evidence of Facebook’s bet on virtual reality as the future of engagement.

“After games, we’re going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences. Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, or studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world —just by putting on goggles in your home.”

—Mark Zuckerberg

Predicting the Next Shift

The Big Five are some of the most influential companies in the world today.

Beyond rapidly reshaping the global tech landscape, these acquisitions provide important context on how tech companies consolidate power—and, more importantly, what will fuel their next phase of growth.

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What Would $5,000 Invested in Nvidia Be Worth Today?

Small fortunes have been made for those investing in Nvidia stock. But how much would have they earned if they bought before it skyrocketed?

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What Would $5,000 Invested in Nvidia Be Worth Today?

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Investing in Nvidia has been highly lucrative, especially for investors who got in early.

As America’s largest chipmaker, its stock price has soared given its critical role in powering AI. Last year alone, its share price jumped 272%, vaulting it into becoming one of the world’s most valuable companies.

This graphic shows how much a $5,000 investment in Nvidia would have grown over time, based on data from Yahoo Finance.

Investing in Nvidia Before the AI Boom

Below, we show how much an investment in Nvidia would have increased in value over the last several decades:

Year Invested (January 1st)Stock PriceStarting ValueValue Today (as of Feb 15, 2024)
2000$0.77$5,000$4,718,052
2010$3.85$5,000$943,610
2015$4.80$5,000$756,854
2020$59.11$5,000$61,460
2023$195.37$5,000$18,595

For those who bought in 2000, a $5,000 investment would be worth over $4.7 million today, with Nvidia’s stock price rising 94,261% over the time period.

At the time, Nvidia had just invented its graphics processing unit (GPU), which allowed computer graphics to render more seamlessly in video games and video editing. These high-performance units complete complex computing tasks, and Nvidia was creating leading technology at the time.

Over the last decade, Nvidia has increasingly focused on AI technology, with key developments launching as early as 2012. Yet it was not until 2020 when its share price really began to soar as the company’s end customer segments increasingly became data centers and cloud computing, alongside video games.

In fact, since 2020 alone, its share price has soared 1,129%—making a $5,000 investment worth twelve times as much today.

So far this year, its stock price shows no sign of stopping, driven by its outsized role in the AI chipmaking market. Roughly 70% of all chips are sold by Nvidia, outpacing key competitor AMD by a landslide.

The company’s Q4 revenues topped $22 billion, setting another historical record, amounting to a 265% year-over-year increase in revenues. In 2023, Nvidia sold 2.5 million chips with customers including OpenAI, Microsoft, Meta Platforms, and Alphabet. The price range for these chips can span anywhere from $16,000 to $100,000.

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