Notable technology acquisitions 2019

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PayPal acquires Honey for $4 billion

PayPal announced in November that it will acquire Honey Science Corporation – best known as the maker of the popular deal-finding browser add-on Honey – for $4 billion, making it PayPal’s largest acquisition.

“Honey is amongst the most transformative acquisitions in PayPal’s history,” Dan Schulman, president and CEO of PayPal said in a statement. “It provides a broad portfolio of services to simplify the consumer shopping experience, while at the same time making it more affordable and rewarding. The combination of Honey’s complementary consumer products with our platform will significantly enhance our ability to drive engagement and play a more meaningful role in the daily lives of our consumers.”

Honey cofounders George Ruan and Ryan Hudson will join PayPal, alongside 350 employees, who will stay at its headquarters in Los Angeles.

Mirantis acquires Docker Enterprise

Docker has announced that it is selling its enterprise business to Mirantis for an undisclosed amount so that it can better focus on serving its developer community.

It’s a good fit for Mirantis, which helps companies run Kubernetes and OpenStack, as it can more seamlessly integrate its Kubernetes capabilities with the Docker Enterprise Container Platform, bringing together two industry-standard tools in the cloud-native era.

Around 300 Docker employees will be moving to Mirantis, as will all its enterprise customers and partners. Docker will move its chief product officer Scott Johnston into the CEO role, leaving current CEO Rob Bearden out of a job again, having only joined from Hortonworks in May.

“The Docker Enterprise employees are among the most talented cloud-native experts in the world and can be immensely proud of what they achieved. We’re very grateful for the opportunity to create an exciting future together and welcome the Docker Enterprise team, customers, partners, and community,” Mirantis CEO Adrian Ionel said in a statement.

Workday acquires Scout for $540 million

HR and finance SaaS vendor Workday announced the acquisition of Scout RFP in November for $540 million in cash.

The San Francisco-based startup has built a cloud-based office procurement system that helps customers streamline supplier management. Workday had already invested in the company through its ventures arm in 2018. By boosting its procurement capabilities, Workday takes another step towards being able to compete with the likes of SAP from a holistic ERP standpoint.

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“To support our customers’ procurement needs, we have designed Workday Procurement and Workday Inventory as part of our single system, to streamline the procure-to-pay process and improve operational efficiency, driving down costs while enhancing supplier collaboration and engagement. We now have more than 650 Workday Procurement customers, with more than half of them live,” Workday chief product officer Petros Dermetzis wrote in a blog post.

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Google acquires Fitbit for $2.1 billion

Google has announced it is acquiring Fitbit for $2.1 billion. The deal is expected to go through in early 2020 following all of the relevant approvals. A company statement also promised that Fitbit will continue to work across Android and iOS.

The San Francisco-based Fitbit designs and manufactures popular digital fitness trackers and has also branched into smartwatches to keep pace with rivals Apple and Samsung. It also provides corporate wellness programmes for businesses and a set of applications for users to track their fitness.

James Park, cofounder and CEO of Fitbit, said in a statement: “Google is an ideal partner to advance our mission. With Google’s resources and global platform, Fitbit will be able to accelerate innovation in the wearables category, scale faster, and make health even more accessible to everyone. I could not be more excited for what lies ahead.”

Google has its own wearable software platform – Wear OS – which Rick Osterloh, senior vice president for devices and services at Google, committed to in a blog post.

“By working closely with Fitbit’s team of experts, and bringing together the best AI, software and hardware, we can help spur innovation in wearables and build products to benefit even more people around the world,” he wrote. “Google also remains committed to Wear OS and our ecosystem partners, and we plan to work closely with Fitbit to combine the best of our respective smartwatch and fitness tracker platforms.”

Facebook acquires CTRL-labs

Facebook announced in September that it is acquiring CTRL-labs for somewhere between $500 million and $1 billion, according to CNBC.

The New York-based startup focuses on developing a ‘brain-computer interface’ via a proprietary software platform and wristband, and is a technology that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has signalled a keen interest in over the past couple of years. The startup team will join Facebook’s Reality Labs division.

“Technology like this has the potential to open up new creative possibilities and reimagine 19th-century inventions in a 21st-century world,” Facebook vice president of AR/VR Andrew “Boz” Bosworth wrote in a Facebook post. “This is how our interactions in VR and AR can one day look. It can change the way we connect.”

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