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5 Game Changing M&A Deals of the Last Decade

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  • (4:00) - Facebook's Acquisition of Instagram
  • (8:50) - Gilead Buys Pharmasset for $11 Billion
  • (13:05) - Disney’s Acquisition of Marvel and Star Wars
  • (17:25) - Grubhub Purchase of LevelUp
  • (25:05) - Microsoft’s Buys Github for $7.5 Billion
  • (34:40) - Honorable Mention: Other M&A To Watch
  • (Time) - Episode Roundup:GILD, DIS, FB, GRUB, MSFT, AMZN, CVS, INTC, CRM, NVDA
  • Podcast@Zacks.com

Welcome to Episode #183 of the Zacks Market Edge Podcast.

Every week, host and Zacks stock strategist, Tracey Ryniec, will be joined by guests to discuss the hottest investing topics in stocks, bonds and ETFs and how it impacts your life.

This week she’s joined by Zacks Senior Strategist, Kevin Cook, to discuss the best M&A deals of the last decade.

Which deals were game changers for their companies?

Plenty of these deals were mocked initially, especially Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram. But those skeptics have been proven wrong.

It’s easy to shrug at M&A deals, especially if they’re smaller. But adding the right company can completely transform a company’s trajectory. Just ask these 5 companies.

5 of the Best M&A Deals of the Last 10 Years

1.       Facebook (FB - Free Report) buys Instagram for $1 billion in 2012 before it even goes IPO. Instagram had just 30 million users and no revenue. It was known simply as a photo sharing app. But Instagram has developed into a separate social media platform that dominates its space and has created careers for influencers, models, actors and others. It has given Facebook dominance on 2 platforms.

2.       Gilead (GILD - Free Report) buys Pharmasset in 2011 for $11 billion. This was a huge risk at the time as Pharmasset had no marketed products. But Gilead was able to roll out products quickly and dominate the Hepatis C treatment market for years to come. Was it the start of the biotech M&A revolution?

3.       Disney (DIS - Free Report) made not just one, but two, game changing M&A deals over the last 10 years: Marvel in the summer of 2009 for $4.2 billion and Lucasfilm (aka Star Wars) in Oct 2012 for $4 billion. Both paid for themselves, and then some, within 5 years.

4.       Grubhub (GRUB - Free Report) bought LevelUp in July 2018 for $390 million. The addition of a complete mobile payment and ordering/loyalty program is pushing Grubhub directly into the restaurant kitchens. Grubhub isn’t just about delivery anymore. Is it going to be a data company?

5.       Microsoft (MSFT - Free Report) bought GitHub in 2018 for $7.5 billion. This had tech watchers both excited and distressed. The platform is popular with developers around the world. It’s too soon to know if this will be game changing, but it’s $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn in 2016 may be. Stay tuned to the Microsoft annual report for the fiscal 2019 revenue numbers. They may be a surprise.

There were several runner-up companies which also made great acquisitions over the last 10 years, such as Amazon’s August 2014 purchase of Twitch for $970 million.

What else do investors need to know about M&A?

Tune into this week’s podcast to find out.

 [In full disclosure, Tracey owns shares of FB and GOOGL in her personal portfolio and wants to own the others after doing this podcast.]

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