Google spent $1.9B acquiring 79 companies in 2011

Nathan Pensky · January 27, 2012 · Short URL:

Google spent double the amount in acquisitions in 2011 as in 2010, and that's not counting Motorola

With 79 company acquisitions during 2011, Google could be considered the most acquisitive company last year. And that pace isn't expected to let up.  

The company filed its annual10-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission Friday, showing that the company spent $1.9 billion in cash and stock acquiring 79 different companies during the course of 2011.  While this amount is almost double that spent in 2010, when the company spent over $1 billion for 48 acquisitions, this isn't even taking into account its biggest purchase yet, Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, which it announced in August 2011, and is expected to close in early 2012.

Other notable acquisitions made by Google in 2011 include AdMeld for $400 million, Katango, and Apture, the latter of which did not disclose terms.

At 79 acquisitions, it appears Google may be the No. 1 most acquisitive company in 2011, according to a December report using Dealogic figures. Google ranks as the No. 1 acquisitive company of venture-backed deals in 2011, according to Dow Jones VentureSource. Google bought 12 venture-backed startups last year, three times more than Dell, Cisco Systems, Adobe and eBay, which bought four companies each. 

And don't look for that pace to slow down any time soon. "Acquisitions will also remain an important component of our strategy and use of capital, and we expect our current pace of acquisitions to continue," said the company in its 10-K.

Google's full-time staff grew by 33% from 24,400 at December 31, 2010 to 32,467 at December 31, 2011.

A notoriously acquisitive company, speculation concerning Google's next big buy is often at the center of the tech community's attention. Back in 2006, Google spent $1.6 billion dollars on YouTube, and it has effectively expanded the online streaming video service, such that its daily views have swollen to 4 billion, a 25% increase over the last eight months.

And who could forget the months of rumors surrounding Google's supposed acquisition of Groupon back in 2010, a deal that eventually fell through. Figures attached to the Google/Groupon deal only grew as the rumors swirled, from $2.5 billion to $6 billion.

Interestingly, especially considering Groupon's very shaky IPO last year, the rumors are that Groupon rejected Google's offer because the latter company's offer of $800 million good faith pay-out, if the deal broke up in an anti-trust review, was reportedly not enough for Groupon.

Google's acquisitions are always a fun story to follow, and we have no doubt that 2012 will have just as much entertainment for tech watchers as past years.

[Image Credit: Krishan Ghedia]

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