“Every startup in the world is our R&D lab. If we can't build it, we'll just buy it.”
|--Telecom Executive in 2000|
One way to avoid the potential problems of venturing, licensing, or partnering was simply to acquire innovation—literally. Don't venture to do it yourself and don't mess with the complexities of licensing or the compromises of partnering. Instead, just buy it outright. As companies struggled to hurdle radical technology shifts and juggle greater technological complexity, the idea of acquiring more and more innovation at earlier and earlier stages—even at previously unheard of prices—gained unprecedented appeal. From optics to genomics, so began the great R&D M&A boom.
Never had M&A markets ...