Cisco among most acquisitive in 2010

Purchased five companies in a year that saw 1,900 deals valued at over $200 billion

M&A activity in IT made a strong recovery in 2010, with more 1,900 deals totaling over $200 billion, according to market research firm IDC.  Coming off the 2008-2009 recession, the majority of deals were concentrated in application-related areas, including enterprise applications -- 586 deals -- and Internet applications, with 421 deals.

There were also 219 deals in the infrastructure segment, with security and storage acquisitions leading the way, according to IDC. 

Cisco acquired five companies last year covering a range of strategic markets: consumer, optical, video, smart grid and network management. Cisco disclosed the price of only one, however -- $99 million for CoreOptics, a maker of 100Gbps digital signal processors for optical transport networks.

Cisco hopes the CoreOptics deal will allow it to add high-speed optical transmission capabilities to its routers to enable service providers to add capacity to their existing infrastructures.

Another strategic acquisition for Cisco in 2010 was LineSider Technologies, a developer of network management software for creating, deploying and provisioning cloud computing infrastructure and services.  LineSider's software delegates and enforces policies - defined according to business rules aligning the relationship between users and applications, and computing and storage resources - among VMs and physical assets. It will allow Cisco routers and switches to control network access, security and services across logical and physical construct.

Meanhwile, seven of the top 10 deals in 2010 were in telecom, according to IDC. Among them were CenturyLink's acquisition of Qwest for $22.4 billion and América Móvil's $21 billion deal for Telmex.

In infrastructure, a couple of the top deals were Intel's $7.7 billion purchase of McAfee and SAP's acquisition of Sybase for $5.8 billion, according to IDC.

The most acquisitive companies in 2010 were Google, which made 27 deals, and AOL and Facebook with nine apiece. In addition to Cisco, Dell, HP, IBM, Intel, Oracle, and VMware were most active among IT vendors, IDC found.  

IDC expects 2011 to be another active year as companies make strategic investments in converged infrastructure, mobile content, service creation and enablement, data analytics and pervasive computing.

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