Acquisitions within the artificial intelligence (AI) market continue to increase at pace with technology giants accounting for the bulk share of spending.
According to new findings from GlobalData, during the four-year period of 2014-18, the top five acquirers were made up of four US-based vendors, in addition to Ireland-based Accenture.
The four US-based companies - Facebook, Microsoft, Apple and Splunk - collectively accounted for 30 acquisitions in the AI tech space during the timeframe, whereas Accenture acquired six companies in this area.
“Technology companies have been the dominant deal makers in the AI space,” said Aurojyoti Bose, financial deals analyst at GlobalData. “However, with AI making inroads into diverse sectors, the buyer universe in expanding and the space is also attracting investments from non-technology companies.”
In one of the largest mergers and acquisitions (M&A) deals announced in the AI tech space in 2018, Bio-Techne, a provider of biotechnology and clinical diagnostic solutions, agreed to acquire Exosome Diagnostics, a provider of diagnostic solutions designed through application of technologies such as AI, for $575 million.
During the period, Bose said around 70 per cent of the targets acquired by the top five acquirers in the AI tech space were based in the US, distantly followed by the UK with 11 per cent share.
Other prominent countries attracting investments include Canada, Denmark, Israel, Spain, Sweden, India, Germany, China and France.
“The high number of American firms attracting investments in the AI space is a testimony to the country’s dominance in AI technology,” Bose added. “The recent launch of American AI Initiative program also augurs well for the development of the sector or start-ups operating in this space.”
While American start-ups continue to remain attractive acquisition targets, Bose said acquirers are also moving beyond the US, such as the UK, China, India, Canada and Israel, mainly driven by state-of-the-art technology and talent available in these countries.
“With increasing adoption of AI across sectors, this space is bound to witness growth in an already burgeoning M&A activity,” Bose said. “Corporates are extensively evaluating options to integrate AI in their business operations and automation initiatives. Going forward, AI solutions will be an integral part of their strategies."