What are the largest acquisitions of US-based private companies over the past five years? Which companies purchased them?
The largest U.S.-based private companies acquired over the past five years (2013 to 2017, and including 2018) based on deal value are Whatsapp, Energy Future Holdings, PetSmart, Duracell, Nest Labs, CH2M Hill, Pro Mach Group, Waze, Dollar Shave Club, Twitch, Apigee, Tazo, Annapurna Labs, and AWS Elemental. These companies were acquired by large companies such as Berkshire Hathaway, Google, Facebook, Amazon, among others.
While there were no preexisting lists available in the public domain pertaining to the largest acquisitions of U.S.-based private companies in the last five years, we were able to compile the data through utilizing the Forbes largest private companies (top 100) in the United States and the available lists of the largest acquisitions made by large companies such as Google, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and Unilever. While Walmart has made several acquisitions, the number of deals identified were below $100 million. After identifying relevant acquisition transactions using lists mentioned above and Crunchbase, we have chosen the 14 largest acquisitions made in terms of value.
We only include in the list those acquisitions that have publicly disclosed their transaction amount, private companies headquartered in the United States, and acquired date between 2013 to 2017 and including 2018. For ease of reference, I have compiled my findings into a spreadsheet which you can access here.
SUMMARY AND FINDINGS
The total acquisition value of the above-mentioned companies is totaled $54.6 billion. In 2013, there were 1 acquisition made, 5 acquisitions in 2014, 2 acquisitions in 2015, 2 acquisitions in 2016, 3 acquisitions in 2017, and 1 acquisition made in 2018.
The top acquirer in terms of the number of companies acquired is Google (3 acquisitions with $5.126 billion total value), Amazon (3 acquisitions with $1.636 billion total value), Berkshire Hathaway (2 acquisitions with $13.7 billion total value), and Unilever (2 acquisitions with $1.384 total value). Others have 1 acquisition each with total value as per below;
Facebook: $19 billion
BC Partners: $8.7 billion
Jacobs Engineering Group: $2.85 billion
Leonard Green & Partners: $2.2 billion
The most notable sector in terms of the number of acquisitions made is information and technology (including software, social media, e-commerce, videos, and applications). Other sectors are construction and infrastructure, energy, food industry, manufacturing, and retail.
The top 5 acquisitions are (others are provided in the spreadsheet):
1. Whatsapp: $19 billion (acquirer: Facebook)
2. Energy Future Holdings: $9 billion (acquirer: Berkshire Hathaway)
3. PetSmart: $8.7 billion (acquirer: BC Partners)
4. Duracell: $4.7 billion (acquirer: Berkshire Hathaway)
5. Nest Labs: $3.2 billion (acquirer: Google)
Aside from what has been summarized above, you will find the details of the identified largest U.S.-based private companies acquired over the last five years as provided in the attached spreadsheet. Information provided includes the name of company, sector, the name of the acquiring company, value deals, date of acquisition and including source links.