Here at the Corum Group research team, we went above and beyond on our homework for this year's Forecast 2011 M&A webinar. One of the things that all our research allows us to do is see patterns that may turn into trends, and I really enjoy getting to pass those insights on.
The trend that leaped out to me the most after our review of 2010 was in the security arena. We saw a lot of security deals last year, particularly with deals for over $1 billion dollars like the McAfee [acquired by Intel] and VeriSign [acquired by Symantec] deals. This trend will continue into 2011, and was reinforced with the deal that went through just after the new year, with Dell acquiring SecureWorks for $500 million at a healthy 4.4x multiple.
Another really rich area, in terms of multiples, is virtualization. 2010 saw a rise in deal volumes as the giants jumped into acquisitions enthusiastically. VMware made several deals for more than $100 million each, Citrix added on three separate companies, including 3Tera for their platform and Nimsoft for their software. This should be another trend to keep watching in 2011.