Report: Number of business deals in Utah down during pandemic, but value hit new record of $26B

May 21, 2021, 9:41 AM | Updated: 9:43 am
Landscape view of Salt Lake City, Utah population growth Photo: Carter Williams

SALT LAKE CITY — Even though there were fewer business deals made in Utah overall in 2020, the value of those deals reached a new high of $26.4 billion, beating out 2019’s $25 billion, according to a new report. However, the total number of financial market transactions tracked in the report was only 289, compared to 474 during 2019 and 483 during 2018.

The numbers come from MountainWest Capital Network’s 26th annual Deal Flow Report, which analyzes public and private business deals made in Utah along with mergers and acquisitions.

“While 2020 was a year few people would like to repeat, it is encouraging for the future to note that the total value of deals in the state was the highest we have ever seen,” Kady Reese, MountainWest Capital Network’s Deal Flow vice-chair, said in a statement. “This report provides a first-hand glimpse into what has continued to make Utah one of the best places in the country for innovation and success.”

In the tech world, the acquisition of Ancestry for $4.7 billion was another major deal in 2020 that boosted the state’s total value of business transactions.

One of the most headline-generating deals made in the state last year was the $1.66 billion sale of the Utah Jazz and other assets to Qualtrics founder and executive chairman Ryan Smith, who said in a recent interview with MountainWest Capital Network Chairman Mike Walsh that the deal was one way he wants to give back to the community.

“Utah’s a big piece of our story,” Smith said. “We don’t care how big we get, HQ’s going to be here in Utah and that’s been a big piece of what we’ve tried to do.”

Smith also made headlines earlier this year when Qualtrics went public with a record-breaking IPO for the Beehive State. In 2018, the sale of Qualtrics to SAP was the largest software acquisition in history.

While Walsh doesn’t have a crystal ball, Utah’s trajectory appears to be on the upward trend for business deals, especially in Silicon Slopes.

“Utah’s starting to get a lot of — well it’s already getting a lot of attention — and a lot of the companies that are based here are becoming more mature and more established and I think are justifying that valuation as well,” Walsh explained to

This chart from the annual MountainWest Capital Network Deal Flow Report shows the largest transactions made in the state in 2020, along with what industries stood out. It also compares data from 2020 to previous years’ reports. (Photo: MountainWest Capital Network Deal Flow Report)

In December, Draper-based software company Pluralsight was acquired by Vista Equity Partners in a $3.5 billion deal that was finalized in 2021.

The technology sector of the state continues to bring big dollars into Utah and accounts for 42% of the total transactions followed by consumer/retail and health care industries at 29% and 19% respectively.

Companies have continued to look at Utah as an area to expand to as well and Walsh said companies moving to Utah — like Seattle-based consulting firm Slalom which recently opened a Salt Lake office — shows how the area has attracted more businesses to invest in the area.

“They’re moving here and they’re all in and I think that’s going to continue to just push things up on the technology side of things, but also in the other areas,” he said.

Today’s Top Stories


In this undated photo released by Toyota Motor Corp., its bZ4X vehicle is shown during an online pr...
YURI KAGEYAMA AP Business Writer

Toyota recalls electric car for faulty wheel that may detach

The "bz" in the recalled model's name, as well as others in the works, stands for a "beyond zero" series, including sport-utility vehicles of all sizes, pickup trucks and sportscars, according to Toyota.
7 days ago
A model wears a creation as part of the Giorgio Armani men's Spring Summer 2023 collection presente...

Gucci unveils ‘HaHaHa’ collaboration with Harry Styles

Gucci has teamed up with Harry Styles for a between-season collection that infuses tailoring with adolescent joy. The collection is titled “HaHaHa.”
11 days ago
A now hiring sign in an Arby's window.; the Utah employment summary for May showed a slight slowing...
Amie Schaeffer

May’s Utah employment report showing signs of inflation impact

The employment rate in Utah remains steady but may be showing signs of inflation's impact, according to the state's May employment summary.
14 days ago
Attic fire in Cowabunga Bay building....
Mark Jones

Cowabunga Bay Water Park set to reopen Thursday after fire last weekend

Following a building fire last weekend, Draper's Cowabunga Bay Water Park is scheduled to reopen to the public on Thursday.
16 days ago
Utah airbnb rentals rising interest rates affecting millennial home buyers...
Dan Bammes

One realtor sees “signs of hope” in Utah housing market

With home listings up and home sales down, one Utah realtor is encouraged about the future of the Utah housing market, leading to what she calls "signs of hope."
17 days ago
Some executives are keeping their employees home in a way to save money and possibly help lower the...
Heather Kelly

Working from home could help bring down gas prices

Some businesses are having employees return to working remotely as a way to have money on gas, and possibly help lower gas prices.
21 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Report: Number of business deals in Utah down during pandemic, but value hit new record of $26B