RISE OF TECH, SPACs, AND REGULATION
Tech led the S&P 500’s 16% rise in 2020 – during the COVID-19 pandemic, no less. FAANG stocks (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Alphabet’s Google) were major drivers – making up about 20% of the index – proving tech’s resilience to many external factors. When the world locked down, Amazon broke out, fueled by demand for e-commerce delivery. Amazon stock was up about 73% for the year.
Add to that Tesla’s entry into the S&P, and the technology industry flexed its muscles in the markets.
As 2020 came to an end, we’ve been closely watching two emerging factors in the technology industry, the rise of SPACs and the risk of more federal regulation. Both hold the potential to impact future mergers and acquisitions in the space.
In a bit of a surprise, as 2020 became the year of the stay-at-home and work-from-home orders, streaming platforms boomed. Streaming service platforms – video and music – were valued at $26 billion in 2019 but are expected to hit $47 billion by 2027. In addition to stalwarts Amazon Prime, Hulu, Netflix, and others, 2020 saw the arrival of HBO Max, NBC’s Peacock, and Discovery+, along with the 2019 entry of Disney+, all of which vied for eyeballs while we were locked at home.
Businesses and schools also leaned into tech during the pandemic. Zoom burst into public consciousness with video meetings popular for remote learning, friendly online “happy hours,” and corporate conference calls. The service reported a spike in daily users from 10 million in December 2019 to 200 million just four months later as the reality of the pandemic set in. By May, Zoom made its first-ever acquisition, snapping up security startup Keybase to combat security questions. And by June there was speculation over who would try to acquire Zoom…
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