American firms remained the top acquirers in AI tech space during 2015–2019

American tech giants dominated the list of top five acquirers (by number of acquisitions) in the artificial intelligence (AI) tech space during 2015–2019, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Of the top five acquirers, four positions were occupied by companies headquartered in the US. These companies also occupied the top four positions, while Ireland-based Accenture occupied the fifth position.

The four US-based companies, Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook collectively accounted for 60 acquisitions in the AI tech space during 2015–2019. Apple led with 23 acquisitions, followed by Google and Microsoft accounting for 13 acquisitions each, and Facebook with 11 acquisitions. Accenture acquired 10 companies in this space during 2015-2019.

Aurojyoti Bose, Lead Analyst at GlobalData, says: “The dominance of the US-based companies in the list of top acquirers is a testimony of the country’s leadership in the AI space and that most tech companies in the region are working on a defined AI strategy.”

The US-based AI start-ups also remained attractive acquisition targets for these top five acquirers. More than 60% of the targets acquired by these companies during 2015-2019 were headquartered in the US.

Bose adds: “Tech companies are seeing new avenues for growth in the AI space while also competing among themselves. Pursuing mergers and acquisitions (M&A) remains a key strategy for them to be at the forefront.”

There have also been instances where the AI talent at one company has been poached by its competitors. For example, Apple has been working on a strategy to make the company big in the AI space. Apart from undertaking acquisitions in the space, the company also hired John Giannandrea, the AI chief at Google.

Bose concludes: “With AI making inroads virtually into all the sectors, M&A activity in the space is likely remain buoyant in future.”

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