Enterprise Tech Firms Are Desperate to Buy Their Way to Growth

Corporate IT spending growth is minimal, and a growing portion of the money that is being spent is going to hungry upstarts and cloud app and service providers. Combine that with large cash balances, mostly low industry valuations and still-reasonable interest rates, and you have very good conditions for heightened M&A activity among larger enterprise IT firms hungry to improve their growth profiles.

Monday brought us two more large deals involving acquirers struggling to grow amid tough direct and indirect competition. Symantec (SYMC)  announced it's buying ID theft-protection services firm LifeLock for $2.3 billion, and Oracle (ORCL)  announced the acquisition of domain name service provider Dyn. Tech reporter Dan Primack has heard the latter deal feature a price "just north of $600 million."

The LifeLock deal follows Symantec's $4.65 billion purchase of security hardware, software and services provider Blue Coat, a move that strengthened the hardware and web security footprints of Symantec's slumping enterprise security unit.

Symantec plans to pair LifeLock's offerings with those of its Norton consumer security unit, which has been hurt by weak PC sales and Microsoft's bundling of its Windows Defender software with Windows copies.

Symantec's consumer revenue fell 6% annually in its calendar third quarter. Enterprise revenue rose 26% thanks to the Blue Coat deal.

Oracle, meanwhile, is only a week removed from closing its $9.3 billion purchase of SMB cloud app provider NetSuite. And prior to that, the company had respectively spent $532 million and $663 million this year to buy cloud utility management software firm Opower and cloud construction software firm Textura, and a reported $500 million to buy virtualization software firm Ravello Systems. Plenty of other acquisitions -- many of them cloud-related -- have also been made over the last five years.

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