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Corporate giants such as Google, IBM and Apple are competing in the race to acquire private AI companies, but who's making the most investments? RS Components has analysed the acquisition records of some of the world's biggest tech giants over the last decade to see who's investing the most in AI startups. You can view the piece, and each company's acquisitions in full here.

The top 10 companies that have acquired the most AI start-ups since 2009 are:

  1. Google, who have bought 30 companies and spent $3,876,340,000 in acquisition costs (based on acquisitions where the prices have been disclosed)
  1. Apple, who have bought 18 companies and spent $886,000,000 in acquisition costs in total (based on acquisitions where the prices have been disclosed)
  1. Facebook, who have bought 12 companies and spent $1,060,000,000 in acquisition costs in total (based on acquisitions where the prices have been disclosed)
  1. Microsoft, who have bought 12 companies and spent $690,000,000 in acquisition costs in total (based on acquisitions where the prices have been disclosed)
  1. Amazon, who have bought 9 companies and spent $871,000,000 in acquisition costs in total (based on acquisitions where the prices have been disclosed)
  1. Intel, who have bought 6 companies and spent $776,000,000 in acquisition costs in total (based on acquisitions where the prices have been disclosed)
  1. Salesforce, who have bought 6 companies and spent $97,799,999 in acquisition costs in total (based on acquisitions where the prices have been disclosed)
  1. Twitter, who have bought 5 companies and spent $629,000,000 in acquisition costs in total (based on acquisitions where the prices have been disclosed)
  1. AOL, who have bought 4 companies and spent $191,700,000 in acquisition costs in total (based on acquisitions where the prices have been disclosed)
  1. IBM, who have bought 4 companies but not disclosed how much money they spent on acquisition costs

Multiple industries are increasingly investing in AI technology - whether to improve their products, make their services more personal or to reduce the amount of time their production process takes. It’s therefore little surprise that this is leading to the AI merger and acquisitions market becoming much broader - and multiple tech corporations, such as Google, Apple and Facebook, are leading the way in this.

As AI continues to become more of a necessity within tech companies’ strategies, it’s clear that they are also recognising the value of acquiring both AI startups and established companies. In the next 10 years, we should expect to see the possibilities around AI advance significantly; whilst the magnitude of what AI has transformed already seems to be beyond any of our expectations, it is still arguably in its infancy. It’s simply no surprise that tech companies are continually seeking to expand their expertise by acquiring these startups.

Although it’s not just companies within the tech industry that are acquiring the most AI startups, they are certainly leading the way. There is also the concern that many companies simply won’t be able to keep up with the likes of Microsoft and Amazon and, at the same time, over the next decade we should expect to see more companies acquiring startups in order to expand their understanding and knowledge of AI.

The likes of Uber should be one to watch, having acquired Mighty AI - who deliver training data to companies that build computer vision models for self-driving vehicles - in order to enhance and scale their self-driving technology. As the industry grows, this may be another group of potential acquirers we could start to see more and more of.

Last modified on Monday, 24 February 2020
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