17 March 2003 A total of 1,087 venture capital backed or publicly listed Internet companies were acquired around the world in 2002, a large number of them in some kind of financial distress, according to research by Webmergers, a US research and advisory company.
The report shows that the value of dot-com style Internet companies, based mainly on content, continued to fade in 2002, but that infrastructure companies, such as ebusiness software suppliers, are holding up in value.
Buyers paid $23.3 billion for the companies — about $23 million per company. This is substantially lower than in 2001, when 1,283 Internet-related companies were sold for a total of $78 billion.
Webmergers includes all kinds of Internet companies in its figures, including, for example, Inktomi, a search technology company bought by Yahoo for $235 million, and Infinium, a business software company, bought by enterprise resource planning (ERP) software vendor SSA GT for $94 million.
Infrastructure spending — referring to the suppliers of software and services to corporations — accounted for 72% of the value of the deals in 2002, up from 28% in 2001. Asset sales — usually meaning that a business has not been sold as a going concern — accounted for 235 deals, or 25% of the total.
“These deals centre around emerging pockets of vitality that range from Internet-enabled corporate applications to certain segments of e-commerce,” said Webmergers.