IBM Flexes M&A Muscles: Tech Weekly Recap

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - IBM ( IBM) flexed its M&A muscles again this week, announcing a $1.3 billion deal to buy talent management specialist Kenexa ( KNXA).

IBM sees Kenexa as a way to bolster its social business offerings, technologies for connecting workers across their organizations. IBM also views the acquisition as feeding into its massive business analytics push.

Kenexa is also the latest in a string of companies snapped up by tech heavyweights eager to boost their cloud credentials. Earlier this year, for example, SAP ( SAP) announced a $4.3 billion deal for Ariba ( ARBA), which followed its $3.4 billion purchase of SuccessFactors last year.

Elsewhere, Oracle ( ORCL) grabbed cloud-based HR solutions provider Taleo in February, while IBM acquired DemandTec late in 2011.

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IBM, as part of its five-year roadmap announced in 2010, has said it plans to spend $20 billion on acquisitions by 2015. Over the past three years, the company has made 25 purchases, and it has closed eight acquisitions this year.

Shares of IBM closed the week down 1.48% at 194.85.

Apple ( AAPL) also grabbed its share of headlines this week as Wall Street digested the company's victory in its patent battle against Samsung.

The iPhone maker, however, may be prepared to bury the hatchet in a separate patent dispute with Google ( GOOG), according to a media report.

Reuters reported on Thursday that Apple CEO Tim Cook and his Google counterpart Larry Page have been in talks discussing the intellectual property issues between the companies. Citing people familiar with the matter, Reuters reported that talks were held last week. One source told Reuters that the executives agreed to continue talking.

Rumors about an iPad Mini continued to swirl this week. AU Optronics ( AU) and LG Display are making the touchscreens for the device, according to Chinese Web site Donews, by way of BrightWire.

Apple shares ended the week up 0.3% at $665.24. Google's stock closed up 0.95% at $685.09.

Earnings season slowly rumbled to its close this week, with Pandora Media ( P) reporting better-than-expected second-quarter results on Wednesday, beating Wall Street's expectations on both the top and bottom lines.

The Oakland, Calif.-based company also offered better-than-anticipated third-quarter and full-year guidance, much to the delight of investors, who pushed the company's shares up on Thursday.

Pandora CFO Steve Cakebread also announced on Wednesday that he's leaving the Internet radio provider.

Shares of Pandora ended the week up 20.26% at $11.99 on Friday.

Big data specialist Splunk ( SPLK) cruised past Wall Street's expectations for its second-quarter results on Thursday and raised its full-year revenue guidance.

"The momentum that we realized in our first quarter of fiscal 2013 has continued into our second quarter," said Splunk CEO Godfrey Sullivan, in a statement released after market close. "We added nearly 400 new customers and are equally excited about the expanded use of Splunk in our customer base."

Splunk shares closed up 11.47% at $34.40 on Friday.

Earnings season may be over, but September still promises to be a busy month for the tech sector. Next week, on Sept. 6, the spotlight will be firmly on Amazon ( AMZN) when the Internet retailer hosts a major press event, expected to mark the debut of a new Kindle Fire. TheStreet will be flying out to live-blog the event in Santa Monica, Calif.

Finnish handset maker Nokia ( NOK) is expected to launch two new Lumia phones on Sept. 5, according to The San Jose Mercury News.

The following week will be even busier, with Intel ( INTC) kicking off its Developers' Forum on Sept. 11 and gadget giant Apple expected to launch its eagerly anticipated iPhone 5 on Sept. 12.

Embattled handset maker Research In Motion ( RIMM) reports its fiscal second-quarter results on Sept. 27.

-- Written by James Rogers in New York.

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