M&A and Technological Expansion


We examine how public firms listed in North American stock exchanges acquire technology companies during 2010–2020. Combining data from Standard and Poor’s (S&P), Refinitiv, Compustat, and Center for Research in Security Prices, and utilizing a unique S&P taxonomy that classifies tech mergers and acquisitions (M&As) by tech categories and business verticals, we show that 13.1% of public firms engage in any tech M&A in the S&P data, while only 6.75% of public firms make any (tech or nontech) M&A in Refinitiv. In both data sets, the acquisitions are widespread across sectors of the economy, but tech acquirers in the S&P data are on average younger, more investment efficient, and more likely to engage in international acquisitions than general acquirers in Refinitiv. Within the S&P data, deals in each M&A-active tech category tend to be led by acquirers from a specific sector; the majority of target companies in tech M&As fall outside the acquirer’s core area of business; and firms are, in part, driven to acquire tech companies because they face increased competition in their core areas.