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 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:
|LinkedIn (2016)||$26.2 billion||Social Media|
|Skype (2011)||$8.5 billion||Telecommunications|
|GitHub (2018)||$7.5 billion||Software|
|Nokia (2014)||$7.2 billion||Telecommunications|
|aQuantive (2007)||$6.3 billion||Marketing|
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 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:
|Whole Foods (2017)||$13.7 billion||Retail|
|Zappos (2009)||$1.2 billion||Retail|
|Ring (2018)||$1.2 billion||Technology|
|PillPack (2018)||$1 billion||Pharmaceuticals|
|Twitch (2014)||$970 million||Social 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 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:
|Motorola (2012)||$12.5 billion||Telecommunications|
|Nest (2014)||$3.2 billion||Technology|
|DoubleClick (2007)||$3.1 billion||Marketing|
|Looker (2019)||$2.6 billion||Software|
|YouTube (2006)||$1.7 billion||Social 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.
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
|Beats (2014)||$3 billion||Music|
|Dialog Semiconductor (2018)||$600 million||Manufacturing|
|Anobit (2011)||$500 million||Manufacturing|
|Shazam (2017)||$400 million||Music|
|NeXT Computer (1996)||$400 million||Technology|
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’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:
|WhatsApp (2014)||$22 billion||Social Media|
|Oculus (2014)||$2 billion||Technology|
|Instagram (2012)||$1 billion||Social Media|
|LiveRail (2014)||$500 million||Marketing|
|Onavo (2013)||$200 million||Analytics|
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.”
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.
Mapped: The Fastest (and Slowest) Internet Speeds in the World
Internet speeds vary depending on your location. Here’s a look at the countries with the fastest—and slowest—internet speeds worldwide.
Mapped: The World’s Fastest (and Slowest) Internet Speeds
How quickly did this page load for you?
The answer depends on the device you’re using, and where in the world you’re located. Average internet speeds vary wildly from country to country.
Which countries have the fastest internet connection? Using data from the Speedtest Global Index™, this map ranks the fastest (and slowest) internet speeds worldwide, comparing both fixed broadband and mobile.
What Factors Affect Internet Speed?
Before diving in, it’s important to understand the key factors that impact a country’s internet speed. Generally speaking, internet speed depends on:
- Infrastructure or the type of cabling (copper or fiber-optic) that a country’s utilizing to support their internet service. Typically, the newer the infrastructure, the faster the connection.
- Proximity/connection to submarine cables is important, as these massive undersea fiber-optic cables transmit about 97% of the world’s communication data.
- The size of a country, since landmass affects how much it costs to upgrade infrastructure. The smaller the country, the cheaper it is to upgrade cabling.
- Investment makes a difference, or how much a country’s government prioritizes internet accessibility.
Of course, other factors may influence a country’s internet speed too, such as government regulation and intentional bandwidth throttling, which is the case in countries like Turkmenistan.
Ranked: Fixed Broadband Internet Speeds
The Speedtest Global Index uses data from hundreds of millions of people, in more than 190 countries, to measure both fixed broadband and mobile connections.
When it comes to the fastest fixed broadband, Singapore comes in first place, with a download speed of 262.2 mbps—more than double the global average.
|#||Country||Global Speed (Mbps)|
|2||🇭🇰 Hong Kong||254.4|
|7||🇰🇷 South Korea||216.7|
|12||🇺🇸 United States||199|
|13||🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates||195.11|
|20||🇲🇴 Macau (SAR)||170.84|
|23||🇳🇿 New Zealand||164.16|
|40||🇸🇲 San Marino||114.24|
|47||🇬🇧 United Kingdom||95.79|
|51||🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia||91.65|
|52||🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago||87.42|
|74||🇨🇷 Costa Rica||57.27|
|76||🇧🇸 The Bahamas||55.89|
|78||🇿🇦 South Africa||53.6|
|80||🇻🇨 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||50.8|
|84||🇱🇨 Saint Lucia||49.5|
|90||🇧🇦 Bosnia and Herzegovina||43.1|
|91||🇲🇭 Marshall Islands||42.6|
|98||🇲🇰 North Macedonia||38.84|
|101||🇨🇮 Côte d'Ivoire||35.41|
|109||🇰🇳 Saint Kitts and Nevis||32.78|
|110||🇩🇴 Dominican Republic||31.85|
|116||🇸🇻 El Salvador||26.41|
|119||🇱🇰 Sri Lanka||26.05|
|123||🇧🇫 Burkina Faso||25.52|
|126||🇨🇬 Congo (Brazzaville)||24.12|
|128||🇪🇭 Western Sahara||23.84|
|130||🇨🇻 Cape Verde||23.78|
|139||🇲🇲 Republic of the Union of Myanmar||19.78|
|146||🇦🇬 Antigua and Barbuda||17.11|
|152||🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea||16.4|
|163||🇬🇶 Equatorial Guinea||12.17|
|164||🇸🇱 Sierra Leone||12.13|
|165||🇨🇩 DR Congo||11.46|
|169||🇸🇿 Swaziland (Eswatini)||10.62|
|172||🇬🇲 The Gambia||10.09|
Size could be a factor in Singapore’s speedy internet, as it’s one of the smallest
and also densest countries in the world. With a landmass of just 280 square miles, it’s around the same size as Austin, Texas.
The country’s government has also prioritized investment in digital infrastructure, especially in recent years. In 2020, the Singaporean government promised to invest $2.52 billion towards digital innovation, with a portion dedicated to upgrading the country’s telecom infrastructure.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, Cuba has the slowest fixed broadband, with a speed of 3.46 mbps. Along with poor government funding, Cuba also has limited access to submarine cables. While most countries are connected to several, Cuba is only connected to one.
Ranked: Mobile Internet Speeds
Mobile internet uses cell towers to wirelessly transmit internet to your phone. Because of this extra element, the ranking for mobile internet speeds varies from fixed broadband.
|#||Country||Global Speed (Mbps)|
|1||🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates||195.52|
|2||🇰🇷 South Korea||192.16|
|6||🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia||149.95|
|17||🇺🇸 United States||96.31|
|23||🇬🇧 United Kingdom||80.82|
|25||🇭🇰 Hong Kong||78.75|
|27||🇳🇿 New Zealand||73.17|
|34||🇲🇴 Macau (SAR)||62.43|
|42||🇲🇰 North Macedonia||57.37|
|47||🇿🇦 South Africa||50.44|
|66||🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago||37.54|
|70||🇧🇦 Bosnia and Herzegovina||34.97|
|72||🇨🇷 Costa Rica||34.39|
|78||🇧🇸 The Bahamas||32.63|
|85||🇩🇴 Dominican Republic||31.07|
|93||🇲🇲 Republic of the Union of Myanmar||27.94|
|99||🇸🇻 El Salvador||25.17|
|125||🇨🇮 Côte d'Ivoire||18.37|
|130||🇱🇰 Sri Lanka||16.02|
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is first on the list, with a download speed of 195.5 mbps. Not only is mobile data fast in the UAE, it’s also relatively cheap, compared to other countries on the ranking. The average cost of 1 GB of data in the UAE is around $3.78, while in South Korea (#2 on the list) it’s $10.94.
The Future is 5G
Innovation and new technologies are changing the digital landscape, and things like 5G networks are becoming more mainstream across the globe.
Because of the rapidly changing nature of this industry, the data behind this ranking is updated monthly to provide the latest look at internet speeds across the globe.
This means the bar is gradually raising when it comes to internet speed, as faster, stronger internet connections become the norm. And countries that aren’t equipped to handle these souped-up networks will lag behind even further.
Ranked: Big Tech CEO Insider Trading During the First Half of 2021
Big Tech is worth trillions, but what are insiders doing with their stock? We breakdown Big Tech CEO insider trading during the first half of 2021.
Big Tech CEO Insider Trading During The First Half of 2021
When CEOs of major companies are selling their shares, investors can’t help but notice.
After all, these decisions have a direct effect on the personal wealth of these insiders, which can say plenty about their convictions with respect to the future direction of the companies they run.
Considering that Big Tech stocks are some of the most popular holdings in today’s portfolios, and are backed by a collective $5.3 trillion in institutional investment, how do the CEOs of these organizations rank by their insider selling?
|CEO||Stock||Shares Sold H1 2021||Value of Shares ($M)|
|Jeff Bezos||Amazon (AMZN)||2.0 million||$6,600|
|Mark Zuckerberg||Facebook (FB)||7.1 million||$2,200
|Satya Nadella||Microsoft (MSFT)||278,694||$65|
|Sundar Pichai||Google (GOOGL)||27,000||$62|
|Tim Cook||Apple (AAPL)||0||$0|
Breaking Down Insider Trading, by CEO
Let’s dive into the insider trading activity of each Big Tech CEO:
During the first half of 2021, Jeff Bezos sold 2 million shares of Amazon worth $6.6 billion.
This activity was spread across 15 different transactions, representing an average of $440 million per transaction. Altogether, this ranks him first by CEO insider selling, by total dollar proceeds. Bezos’s time as CEO of Amazon came to an end shortly after the half way mark for the year.
In second place is Mark Zuckerberg, who has been significantly busier selling than the rest.
In the first half of 2021, he unloaded 7.1 million shares of Facebook onto the open market, worth $2.2 billion. What makes these transactions interesting is the sheer quantity of them, as he sold on 136 out of 180 days. On average, that’s $12 million worth of stock sold every day.
Zuckerberg’s record year of selling in 2018 resulted in over $5 billion worth of stock sold, but over 90% of his net worth still remains in the company.
Next is Satya Nadella, who sold 278,694 shares of Microsoft, worth $234 million. Despite this, the Microsoft CEO still holds an estimated 1.6 million shares, which is the largest of any insider.
Microsoft’s stock has been on a tear for a number of years now, and belongs to an elite trillion dollar club, which consists of only six public companies.
Fourth on the list is Sundar Pichai who has been at the helm at Google for six years now. Since the start of 2021, he’s sold 27,000 shares through nine separate transactions, worth $62.5 million. However, Pichai still has an estimated 6,407 Class A and 114,861 Class C shares.
Google is closing in on a $2 trillion valuation and is the best performing Big Tech stock, with shares rising 60% year-to-date. Their market share growth from U.S. ad revenues is a large contributing factor.
Last, is Tim Cook, who just surpassed a decade as Apple CEO.
During this time, shares have rallied over 1,000% and annual sales have gone from $100 billion to $347 billion. That said, Cook has sold 0 shares of Apple during the first half of 2021. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t sold shares elsewhere, though. Cook also sits on the board of directors for Nike, and has sold $6.9 million worth of shares this year.
Measuring Insider Selling
All things equal, it’s desirable for management to have skin in the game, and be invested alongside shareholders. It can also be seen as aligning long-term interests.
A good measure of insider selling activity is in relation to the existing stake in the company. For example, selling $6.6 billion worth of shares may sound like a lot, but when there are 51.7 million Amazon shares remaining for Jeff Bezos, it actually represents a small portion and is probably not cause for panic.
If, however, executives are disclosing large transactions relative to their total stakes, it might be worth digging deeper.
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