Tech Bubble

Is the Tech Bubble Deflating? Maybe Just a Bit.

Is the Tech Bubble Deflating? Maybe Just a Bit.
Image credit: amanda tipton | Flickr

It's 2015, and the technology bubble continues to inflate.

Or does it?

While private market valuations are going through the stratosphere, overall deal making tells a different story.

In the first quarter, the total value of technology mergers and acquisitions dropped 20 percent to $22.3 billion from $27.8 billion in the same period last year, according to a report released Thursday by PricewaterhouseCoopers. The average deal value plunged 27 percent to $305 million over that same stretch.

PwC attributes the declining values seen in the first quarter to the high volume of megadeals, or acquisitions valued at more than $1 billion, in 2014. For the first quarter, only five megadeals closed—a decrease from the average of nine seen in each quarter in 2014. 

The number of technology initial public offerings is also on the decline. In the first quarter, there were only five tech IPOs, with $1.3 billion in proceeds, compared with 13 IPOs in the same quarter last year and an average of 15 per quarter in 2014.

The drop was in part due to huge private financing rounds for companies like Uber and Snapchat.

"This decrease is potentially a result of competition with growing private markets wherein would-be newly public companies are able to raise large amounts of capital at high valuations," the report said.

Despite the recent drop, PwC expects momentum in technology deals to return to 2014 levels.

The software, semiconductor and communications equipment industries are ripe for consolidation, the report said. Software deals actually increased in the quarter, even as deals overall slowed. For the first time, the IT services sector led in deal values.

"While appearing slower at first glance, 2015 has started off the year highly active and has set the stage for another interesting year in the technology sector," Rob Fisher, PwC's U.S. technology deals leader, wrote in the report.

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