A look at SMA's acquisitions scorecard reveals that 18 companies in social media analysis changed hands this year, down from 24 last year. After big acquisitions by Salesforce and Oracle in 2012, this year's deals are generally smaller, although both Microsoft and Apple played the game. The overall theme this year is companies consolidating their positions by acquiring companies with complementary products, technologies and teams. Here's a recap of the year's deals.
High-Profile Companies Up to Something
Twitter scooped up two companies with strengths in linking social media content to television viewing, Bluefin Labs and Trendrr. The company's announcement linked the first acquisition to future ad products and platform development, and no one really questioned the value of analytics acquisitions to Twitter.
In contrast, when Apple picked up Topsy in what was probably the year's richest deal, the move was accompanied by much speculation about what the company could do but little information about plans for its acquisition. The closest anyone got was "sources familiar with the deal," who had an idea of its valuation but little more.
Again and again this year, companies were acquired for the complementary products, technologies and teams they brought to the equation. PeopleBrowsr bought the Facebook specialist Swaylo to extend the analytical reach of its Kred product. Meltwater gained machine learning and image recognition expertise with OculusAI, and in a bit of vertical integration, the media intelligence firm M-Brain bought Whitevector.
In a major-league example of the year's overall trend, Microsoft bought Netbreeze to give its Dynamics CRM product a social media component.
Augure picked up Adequate Systems to strenthen its customer base, as well as to broaden its product line and geographic reach. WPP's Kantar Media added Fisheye Analytics to strengthen its position in Asia. GfK bought Sensemetric to form the foundation for the company's Global Social Media Intelligence Center.
Over in the geospatial analysis market, DigitalGlobe acquired the crowdsourced analysis platform Tomnod, which had also developed a geographically-inclined Twitter analysis tool.
MindMixer picked up VoterTide to add SMA to its existing community engagement capabilities for civic, education and healthcare clients. Also in the healthcare market, IMS Health bought Semantelli to bring SMA into its portfolio.
Telligent bought the assets of Zimbra to merge with its own products and promptly rebranded the combined company with the Zimbra name. LookSmart picked up the assets of Syncapse to bridge the management gap between paid and social media, following the latter's bankruptcy.
The communications agency Cicero Group bought Yatterbox, a free influencer-monitoring tool. TO THE NEW added ThoughtBuzz to its constellation of online marketing, media, community and development businesses, and PITOOEY! bought RAADR for its growing collection of online and mobile marketing tools.
Setting a Precedent
Finally—and not included in the count—2013 saw the first IPO of an SMA specialist firm, as Hottolink (TYO:3680) floated its shares on the Tokyo exchange. At year-end, the stock was up 170%.