Following Google’s acquisition of Nest last week Venturebeat published the following list of Google’s top ten acquisitions by value:
- Motorola Mobility – $12.5 billion, 2012
- Nest Labs – $3.2 billion, 2014
- DoubleClick – $3.1 billion, 2007
- YouTube – $1.7 billion, 2006
- Waze – $966 million, 2013
- AdMob – $750 million, 2009
- ITA Software – $700 million, 2011
- Postini – $625 million, 2007
- Wildfire – $450 million, 2012
- Admeld – $400 million, 2011
The striking thing about this list is that there aren’t more higher value deals. Google stands out as perhaps the most prolific acquirer of internet businesses in recent years, yet they have only made four deals over $1bn (or five if you include Waze) and two of those (Motorola Mobility and DoubleClick) were mature businesses rather than startups.
This re-enforces the old truism that the most reliable path to a massive exit is to head for an IPO, even with all the difficulties that come with that route.
Additionally it makes clear that getting above $400m in a trade sale is a bit of a crap shoot.