The technology industry will see "some major acquisitions" this year, according to Gary Shapiro, the chief executive of the Consumer Electronics Association, which is hosting the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week. "This will be the year of acquisitions," Mr Shapiro told the Telegraph.co.uk. "Valuations are so slow, it's a great time to be an acquirer. It's really phenomenal how low some companies are valued, some are valued at less than the assets they hold." Mr Shaprio said he expects companies with strong balance sheets, such as Microsoft and Intel, to sieze the opportunity and pick up bargains. He brushed aside intense speculation that attendance at this year's CES, the highlight of the technology calendar, has been decimated by the global economic downturn. He said he would be "shocked" if attendance is not down on last year when 1420,000 visited the convention, but expects "it will still be the third biggest CES in our 42-year history".
More than 2,700 companies are exhibiting their goods across 1.7m sq ft of exhibition space across the city. However analysts point out that companies will have paid for exhibiting space well in advance of the global economic slowdown. Some of the industry's biggest players, including Philips, Cisco Systems, Panasonic and Sanyo are not attending the event or have drastically scaled back their presence. Despite the gloom Mr Shaprio believes technology will "drag the world out of recession". "Technology companies has been through this before, they understand boom and bust. They [technology companies] went through it in 1980-81, in 1991 and 2001, they will get through this," he said. "2001 was a sudden crash - the sky fell in. The sky is not falling now." He predicts 2009 will be a "challenging year" but said innovation delivered by technology companies will help other companies cut costs and fuel growth in the wider economy. ( www.telegraph.co.uk )