Facebook’s (FB) Mark Zuckerberg recently shook up the tech industry yet again with his $19 billion deal for mobile messaging service WhatsApp. He not only demonstrated again his laser focus on dominating mobile — and that no price seems too crazy to achieve it — but he also potentially stirred the waters of M&A across other tech stocks and startups.
Coming up with a solid list of buyout prospects is far from easy, and it’s often wrought with stories that don’t end up panning out. For instance, wasn’t BlackBerry (BBRY) supposed to be a slam dunk for a transaction a couple years ago? Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t — but it’s independent today, proving a lot of crystal balls wrong.
Still, there’s a large group of tech stocks that need more mobile presence and have the bankroll to ramp up M&A activity. While Zuckerberg has said that it’s stepping away from the time being, you still have Google (GOOG), eBay (EBAY), Amazon.com (AMZN), Microsoft (MSFT), Apple (AAPL) and even Yahoo (YHOO) as potential buyers in the U.S. That’s not to mention oft-overlooked operators in Asia such as Alibaba (which may come public soon and would have more cash to deploy) and Tencent (TCEHY).
But what tech stocks will they eat up? Well, here are four possibilities: