Israel is well known as the Start-Up Nation and this of course means that some investors have made huge amounts of money thanks to Israeli companies. There have been some enormous acquisitions over the last few years and 2018 was no exception. A number of Israeli companies were acquired, making their founders into millionaires.
The largest acquisition this year was of Frutarom for $7 billion. Frutarom, established in 1993, is a company that makes food flavours and fragrances. It was the sixth largest food flavourings maker in the world until International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF) bought it this year. It was the second largest deal ever made in Israel. Now IFF is the largest flavouring company in the world and the purchase included Frutarom’s production centres in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, China and Morocco. The company has marketed more than 70,000 products across 150 countries and it employed 5,600 people before the acquisition.
Another huge acquisition this year was Orbotech for $3.4 billion. The company makes the bold claim that “virtually every electronic device in the world is produced using Orbotech systems.” It was bought by the semiconductor giant KLA-Tencor, who are based in Silicon Valley. Orbotech is involved in making printed circuit boards, electro-mechanical systems, flat screen monitors, and much more. The company’s specific area of expertise is finding a way to marry the dreams of designers with production realities. Their technology includes systems for inspection and testing, creating circuit boards using inkjet and direct imaging, and far more. As the demand for ever-smaller devices continues, Orbotech’s technology will become even more important.
One of the best-publicised acquisitions of the past year was that of SodaStream for $3.2 billion. Just a few years ago, the company was struggling with sales and falling profits as consumers moved away from sweet drinks. In response, the CEO Daniel Birnbaum changed the company’s strategy so that it was offering healthier drinks and began highlighting the environmental friendliness of SodaStream’s reusable bottles. The company hired the celebrity Scarlett Johansson as its face, and things turned around so quickly that PepsiCo bought the company earlier this year. PepsiCo has promised that it will keep the company in Israel for at least 15 years, but has also suggested that it could remain there indefinitely.
The Israeli cybersecurity firm Imperva is one of many in the country. However, it was the company that caught the eye of investment firm Thoma Bravo, which paid $2.1 billion for Imperva. Imperva have a number of technologies that help organisations protect their websites, software, and so on from cyberattacks. They have more than 6,200 customers and 500 partners across more than 100 countries.
The biggest acquisition ever was Mobileye, which was bought for $15.3 billion by Intel in 2017. However, the Israeli technology industry shows no signs of slowing down and new start-ups are appearing all of the time. It seems more than likely that 2019 will bring its share of impressive acquisitions and there is every chance that Mobileye’s record will be broken.