The rate of mergers and acquisitions slowed in January, driven in part by volatility that has sent the stock market on a wild ride so far this year. Despite the lack of any earth-shattering deals, there were still a few significant acquisitions during the first month of the new year.

Video game publisher Activision Blizzard (ATVI) made a small but important purchase in January, scooping up Major League Gaming in an effort to capitalize on the eSports trend. General Electric (GE 0.21%) continued its plan to sell off non-core businesses, agreeing to part ways with GE Appliances. Microchip Technology (MCHP -3.00%), a provider of microcontrollers, beat out another suitor and announced the acquisition of Atmel (NASDAQ: ATML). International Business Machines (IBM -1.06%) bet big on cloud video with the acquisition of Ustream. And Johnson Controls (JCI -0.85%) and Tyco (TYC) agreed to a merger.

Click through the following slideshow to learn more about these major acquisitions.

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With shares of Activision Blizzard nearly doubling in 2015, it may seem unlikely that another big gain is in store for 2016. But with Activision Blizzard having a wide array of games able to make up for any weakness in old stalwarts such as World of Warcraft, 2016 could be the company's best year yet.

General Electric has stated that it plans to return as much as $90 billion to shareholders by 2018 via share buybacks and dividends, driven by the company's efforts to streamline its operations by selling off business. There have been some setbacks, but it looks like General Electric is on pace to achieve this lofty goal.

While semiconductor companies such as Microchip generally tend to not be great dividend stocks, Microchip may be an exception. The stock yields over 3%, and despite volatility in the company's earnings, that dividend has been steadily increasing over the past decade. Here's why one Foolish contributor thinks that Microchip is a solid pick for income investors.

International Business Machines is in the middle of a transformation, shifting its business to the cloud and disappointing those interested in only short-term results. The Ustream acquisition is part of IBM's strategy, and you can learn more about it here.

The Johnson Controls-Tyco merger is a complicated transaction with a lot of moving parts, and it's important for shareholders of both company to fully understand the deal. Here's everything you need to know about the Johnson Controls-Tyco merger.