Microsoft has topped the list for the highest number of acquisitions last year with 14 takeovers, according to business advisers Icon Corporate Finance.

Among the software firm's takeovers were AssetMetrix, the Canada based asset-tracking company and the remote access and firewall corporation, Whale Communications.

Oracle and KPN were joint second in the list, with 13 purchases each, and IBM also made the top ten with 12 acquisitions taking the organisation up to fourth place.

Some of the big security company takeovers last year, included Cisco's £2.7 billion splurge for Scientific Atlanta, taking the firm up to eighth on the list with a further six acquisitions, and IT giant HP's £2.3 billion purchase of Mercury Interactive.