Booth’s bulletpoint bulletin

 ICT consultant Paul Booth keeps you abreast of local and international deals and developments.

International deals
• Accenture has been at it again. It has either entered into agreements to acquire or concluded the acquisitions of Sentelis, a French independent data consulting and engineering company; Italy-based boutique systems integrator PLM Systems; Byte Prophecy, an automated insights and big data analytics company; Callisto Integration, a Canada-based provider of consulting and technology services; Kates Kesler, a design consultancy; Nike Group, an Italian consulting firm that provides regulatory technology to financial services firms; Revolutionary Security, a privately held enterprise cyber security company; Yesler, a business-to-business marketing services agency; and Gekko, a French AWS services company.

• Amazon has acquired self-driving startup Zoox for $1.2 billion.

• Apple has acquired Fleetsmith, a startup that helps businesses manage Mac and iPad devices among employees; NextVR, a startup that provides sports and other content for VR headsets; Inductiv, a machine-learning startup; DarkSky, a hyperlocal weather information app; and Ireland-based Voysis, an AI startup focused on digital voice assistants to better understand people’s natural language.

• Atlassian, parent of Trello, entered a deal to acquire Slack-application creator Halp.

• Cisco Systems has agreed to acquire privately-held cloud software maker ThousandEyes for about $1 billion, and announced plans to acquire Fluidmesh Networks, a wireless technology company focused on public transit, mining and port operations.

• Descartes Systems Group has acquired Kontainers, a provider of digital freight platforms.

• F5 Networks acquired Shape Security, a fraud and abuse prevention company.

• Facebook acquired Giphy, whose animated image library will be integrated into Instagram; Mapillary, a Swedish mapping technology company; and Ready at Dawn Studios, the VR studio behind the game Lone Echo. Facebook is also investing $7.5 billion in India’s Reliance Jio.

• GoDaddy is acquiring Neustar's registry business.

• HCL Technologies acquired Cisco’s self-optimising network technology.

• IBM has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Spanugo, a US-based provider of cloud security posture management solutions.

• Intel acquired Moorit, an Israeli public transit app maker; and Rivet Networks, which will help boost Intel’s WiFi offerings.

• KKR is set to invest $1.5 billion in Jio Platforms, as well as Silver Lake ($750 million) and Vista Equity Partners ($1.5 billion). Microsoft is reportedly considering a similar investment.

• Merck has acquired the OLED patent portfolio for display applications from Konica Minolta, which comprises over 700 patent families.

• Microsoft has acquired ADRM Software, a provider of large-scale industry data models used by large companies as information blueprints, and Softomotive, a provider of robotic software to automate tasks. It will also be acquiring CyberX, an IoT security startup, and networking software firm Metaswitch.

• NetApp has acquired CloudJumper, a cloud software company in the virtual desktop infrastructure and remote desktop services markets. It has also revealed plans to acquire Spot, a startup that helps companies find and manage cheap infrastructure, or spot instances.

• NTT has invested $600 million in NEC for a 4.8% stake.

• Nvidia plans to acquire datacentre networking specialist Cumulus Networks.

• Palo Alto Networks has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire CloudGenix, a cloud-delivered SD-WAN provider, for $420 million.

• Park Place Technologies has acquired Custom Hardware Engineering & Consulting to boost its datacentre maintenance business.

• ServiceNow has acquired Sweagle, a Belgium-based configuration management startup.

• Sony has made a $400 million (5%) investment in Chinese online entertainment platform Bilibili.

• Square’s Cash App unit has acquired Verse, a Spanish startup that offers the ability to send cash between users.

• Tencent has purchased Malaysian video streaming platform Iflix’s content, technology and resources. It has also invested a 5% stake in Afterpay, the Australian buy-now-pay-later firm; and a 20% stake in Japan’s Marvelous, a games maker. Tencent Music made a 5.2% investment in Warner Music Group.

• Toshiba plans to sell down its 40.2% stake in flash memory chips firm Kioxia Holdings.

• ValueAct Capital Partners has invested $1.1 billion in Nintendo.

• VMware has agreed to purchase anti-malware research pioneer Lastline and security platform provider Octarine.

• WatchGuard has acquired Panda Security.

• Xiaomi entered into an agreement to invest about $102.84 million in Zimi, a Chinese IoT manufacturer.

• Zoom Video Communications acquired Keybase, a secure messaging and file-sharing service.

• Zynga is buying Peak Games, the company behind popular Candy Crush-style mobile gaming apps Toon Blast and Toy Blast, for $1.8 billion.

International developments

• Commvault has filed lawsuits in a federal court alleging Cohesity and Rubrik collectively infringe seven Commvault patents relating to data management technologies, including cloud, data deduplication, snapshots, search, security and virtualisation.

• Facebook’s WhatsApp and PayPal have invested in payment, food delivery and ride-hailing app operator Gojek as part of the Indonesian firm's ongoing fundraising round.

• InterDigital has entered a worldwide patent licensing agreement with Huawei Technologies, and the companies have settled all litigation against each other.

• Microsoft is also planning to close all its physical stores worldwide.

• Softbank has pulled out of its $3 billion share buyout of WeWork, with the latter suing the former for this move.

• Wipro has partnered with and invested in CloudKnox Security to secure multi-cloud and hybrid cloud infrastructure.

Big tech

• Apple is facing another anti-trust complaint in Europe after Rakuten joined Spotify in asking Brussels to investigate its App Store.

• The European Union is planning on filing formal anti-trust charges against Amazon.com over its treatment of third-party sellers. The EU is focusing the next stage of its competition probe into Facebook on whether the social media network is distorting the classified advertising market by promoting its free Marketplace service to its
two billion users.

• Australia will force Facebook and Google to share advertising revenue with local media firms, becoming one of the first countries to require digital platforms to pay for content they use. In what looks to be a growing trend, France's competition authority has also told Google it must pay French publishing companies and news agencies for re-using their content. The search company will also pay some media groups in Brazil and Germany for high-quality content and expects to do more deals with others.

• Facebook must comply with an order by Germany's anti-trust watchdog to curb data collection from users.

• France's top administrative court upheld a €50 million fine imposed last year on Google for breaching European Union online privacy rules.

• India's anti-trust body is looking into allegations that Google is abusing its market position to unfairly promote its mobile payments app in the country.

• A US federal appeals court has revived nationwide litigation accusing Facebook of violating users' privacy rights by tracking their internet activity, even after they logged out of the social media site.

Local deals

• 4Sight Holdings has agreed to sell its subsidiary Digitata, which it bought in 2017, to its original owners for R91.9 million.

• Altron plans to list its Bytes UK unit on the London Stock Exchange.

• The Argility Technology Group has made a strategic investment in Neo Retail Solutions, a company that specialises in the development, design and build, plus marketing, of automated retail technology solutions.

• CA&S Group has acquired an equity shareholding in MACmobile, a provider of end-to-end cloud-based FMCG value chain solutions.

• Helios Towers signed an agreement between one of its South African subsidiaries – HTSA Towers and Eagle Towers – to acquire 65 wireless telecommunications sites in SA.

• EOH has disposed of its stakes in Construction Computer Software and LSD Information Technology.

• Evernex, a leading international provider of TPM services for datacentre infrastructure, has acquired Storex, a South Africa-based supplier of third-party maintenance for enterprise-sized organisations.

• Sebata disposed of Nerdworks Turrito to Growth Capital Partners for about R33 million.

• Standard Bank will take a 40% stake in Payment24 Group, the digital fuel management solutions and telematics company.

• TeleMasters has taken a 25% stake in ConexLink, a datacentre specialist.

• Value Capital Partners has acquired a 13% shareholding in Net1 UEPS Technologies.

• Vantage Capital fully exited its investment in fibre-to-the-home operator Vumatel.

African developments

• Africell won Angola’s fourth operating licence.

• China Mobile International, Facebook, MTN GlobalConnect, Orange, STC, Telecom Egypt, Vodafone and WIOCC partnered to build 2Afric, touted as the most comprehensive subsea cable to serve the African continent and Middle East region. At 37 000km long, 2Africa will be one of the world’s largest subsea cable projects and will interconnect Europe (eastward via Egypt), the Middle East (via Saudi Arabia), and 21 landings in 16 countries in Africa.

• DFA has become the first telecommunications provider in 10 years to be granted an operating licence by the Postal and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe.

• Ethiopia's communications regulator has received 12 bids for the two telecoms licences it plans to award to multinational mobile companies. Bidders include Axian, Electromecha International Projects, Etisalat, Kandu Global Telecommunications, Liquid Telecom, MTN, Orange, Saudi Telecom Company, Snail Mobile and Global Partnership for Ethiopia, Telkom SA and a consortium of telecoms operators made up of Vodafone, Vodacom and Safaricom.

• Metrofile disposed of its 60% shareholding in Metrofile Zambia.

• MTN Uganda has confirmed it has completed its licence renewal.

• Kenya's Safaricom and Vodacom have completed the acquisition of popular mobile money platform M-Pesa from the UK's Vodafone.

• The government of Zambia has officially cancelled Uzi Zambia’s licence and invited new bids from interested regional and international telecoms companies to set up the country’s fourth mobile phone network.