The e-commerce market is maturing, and that was reflected in the flurry of acquisitions last year of online retail businesses, as well as a number of high-profile initial public offerings.
Out of the 450 venture-backed exits in the technology sector last year, 16% were e-commerce companies. It’s considered an “exit” when a company is either acquired or becomes publicly traded.
Google, Wal-Mart, Amazon and other corporate giants all acquired companies in recent years that did something in the e-commerce space — from having online retail stores to facilitating digital payments to providing analytics software that tracks online retail sales. Some e-commerce companies, such as Zulily, even resisted buy-out offers and instead opted to raise additional capital through an initial public offering, allowing it to continue operating as a standalone company.
BI Intelligence expects e-commerce deal activity to be red hot in 2014 as well. Coupons.com recently went public at a valuation that exceeded $US1 billion, and many investors are eagerly awaiting online Chinese marketplace Alibaba’s IPO, which is expected later this year.