This article has been updated from Nov. 1 and originally appeared on Real Money on Oct. 31, 2016.
Though the most headline-grabbing tech acquisitions of 2016 have happened in other fields such as social media and semiconductors, the year has also seen the pace of M&A activity for enterprise hardware and software firms accelerate from 2015's already-rapid rate. And conditions still look good for continued deal activity.
Networking hardware vendor Brocade Communications (BRCD) is the latest enterprise firm to be acquired. On Wednesday, chipmaker Broadcom (AVGO) , the product of this year's massive Broadcom-Avago merger, announced it had agreed to buy Brocade for $5.9 billion, including$ 0.4 billion in debt. Broadcom will pay $12.75 per share in cash for Brocade, a 47% premium to Brocade's closing price in Oct. 28, when news of the potential merger first surfaced.
As part of the deal, Broadcom plans to divest Brocade's IP networking unit, which provides Ethernet switches, IP routers and Wi-Fi hardware and software. Brocade's shares were up 16% to $12.28 on Wednesday morning, while shares of Broadcom were up 1.1% to $172.19.
Pairing Brocade's portfolio of storage switches with Broadcom's lineup of storage adapter cards, controllers and chips will let it provide something close to a soup-to-nuts storage networking and connectivity product line for server and storage OEMs. But it also might not sit well with client Cisco Systems (CSCO) , which is Brocade's biggest storage networking rival. Selling the IP networking unit prevents Broadcom from having to compete with other clients, such as HP Enterprise (HPE) and Arista Networks (ANET) , and also diminishes its overlap with Cisco.
Either way, Brocade's sale follows ten-figure buyouts by private-equity firms for business intelligence software firm Qlik Technologies, WAN optimization hardware firm Riverbed, data warehousing software firm Informatica and videoconferencing hardware firm Polycom, among others. It also follows Cavium's $1.3 billion acquisition of connectivity hardware and chip developer QLogic (competes against Broadcom), and Brocade's own $1.2 billion purchase of Wi-Fi hardware provider Ruckus Wireless.