Two items in the Wall Street Journal really captured the current state of the tech industry. The first was a small piece on employment in the Silicon Valley. Two nonprofits, Joint Venture Silicon Valley and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, produced an annual report on the economic health of the region. To no one’s surprise, employment dropped last year by 1.3%. Venture capital funding slid 7.7%. These figures are very consistent with the 3% decline in technology spending projected for 2009.
Into this picture comes Oracle, the subject of a second WSJ article. Flush with cash and ready to feast on tasty technology firms available at battered down prices, Oracle demonstrates how important cash can be in a recession. That’s no surprise, so what other conclusions can we draw?
If you look at the list of acquisitions reported in the Wall Street Journal you will find it comprises a group of well-targeted, strategically-positioned companies. These firms may have been acquired at depressed prices, but they were acquired nonetheless. As our own research has shown, the well-positioned company has an advantage in good times and bad.
We can also conclude that in today’s climate it’s better to be a buyer than a seller. Sonny Singh, one of Oracles top dealmakers, is quoted as saying, “If I were in their shoes, I would ride it out.” If you can persevere through the downturn you will get a better deal as the investment dollars start to flow again.
Conversely, if you are in a position to invest, you have an opportunity to lock in the maximum return. Whether you invest in people, technology, marketing or acquiring of another company this be the time to make a bold move.