Booth’s bulletpoint bulletin

ICT industry consultant Paul Booth keeps you abreast of the deals and developments in the local and international space.

International deals
• Accenture will sell a majority stake in its Bit2win business to the existing Bit2win management team and Gellify. Accenture has acquired CreativeDrive, a content production specialist, and Organize Cloud Labs, a Brazil-based company operating as ServiceNow's first Elite partner in Latin America; it has also agreed to acquire Salt Solutions, a German technology consultancy, and N3, a tech-driven sales firm.

• Switzerland-based Acronis has acquired DeviceLock to enforce privacy at the device level and prevent threat actors from accessing data on an organisation’s system.

• Alphabet has made a $450 million investment in home security firm ADT. It has also agreed to acquire North, a Canadian startup that has developed Focals smart glasses; and buy a 7.7% stake, for $4.5 billion, in Jio Platforms, taking a seat on its board alongside Facebook, to help the digital arm of Reliance Industries realise its lofty ambitions.

• Amdocs has agreed to acquire Openet, a digital BSS company for $180 million.

• Apple has acquired Spaces, an AR technology startup that was a former project of DreamWorks Animation, and Mobeewave, a startup that could transform iPhones into mobile payment terminals.

• Atlassian has acquired Sweden-based Mindville, a Jira-centric enterprise asset management firm.

• Autodesk has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Pype, a provider of cloud-based solutions for automating construction project management workflows.

• Bain Capital has invested $750 million in Nutanix, a developer of cloud software for enterprises.

• TikTok parent company ByteDance has bought UIpay, a Chinese third-party payment service, and Caicloud, a Chinese cloud computing platform.

• Check Point Software Technologies has agreed to purchase Odo Security, a cybersecurity startup.

• Cisco has acquired Swedish video analytics specialist Modcam; has agreed to buy BabbleLabs, a provider of noise removal and speech enhancement technology; and is planning to purchase PortShift, an Israeli startup that has built a Kubernetes-native security platform.

• Cognizant has entered into agreements to purchase Tin Roof Software, a custom software and digital product development services company, and New Signature, one of the world's largest independent Microsoft public cloud transformation specialists.

• Datadog has bought Undefined Labs, a testing and observability company for developer workflows.

• DocuSign has bought Liveoak Technologies, a startup focused on creating an auditable transaction that includes web-based video conferencing, collaboration and identity verification.

• DXC Technology is selling its healthcare providers’ software business to the Dedalus Group, an Italian healthcare technology company for $525 million.

• Ericsson has agreed to buy US-based Cradlepoint, a wireless networking company for $1.1 billion.

• Fortinet has purchased Opaq Networks, a cloud security and networking innovator.

• Garmin has bought Finland-based Firstbeat Analytics, a privately-held provider of physiological analytics and metrics for consumer devices in the health, wellness, fitness and performance markets.

• GoDaddy has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire SkyVerge, a leading WooCommerce product developer.

• Hewlett Packard Enterprise plans to buy Silver Peak, an SD-WAN player, for $925 million.

• HMD Global, the company behind Nokia phones, has acquired the assets of mobile, enterprise and cyber security software firm Valona Labs.

• Hyland Software, a Thoma Bravo company, has agreed to acquire Alfresco Software, which offers digital business software.

• Infosys is to acquire Kaleidoscope Innovation, a product design and development firm, and GuideVision, an enterprise service management consultancy.

• Intelsat has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the commercial aviation business of Gogo, the largest global provider of in-flight broadband connectivity, for $400 million.

• Juniper Networks has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Netrounds, a programmable, software-based active test and service assurance platform suitable for fixed and mobile networks for the entire service lifecycle.

• Microsoft will buy ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion, strengthening its Xbox video game offering with the publishing company behind titles such as Fallout, Elder Scrolls and the Doom reboot.

• Mimecast has purchased eTorch, a messaging security provider with solutions designed to help stop social engineering and human identity attacks with the use of machine learning technology.

• MobileIron has entered into an agreement to be acquired by Ivanti, a leading provider of enterprise-grade intelligent IT management and security software solutions.

• Nvidia will acquire semiconductor and software design company Arm from SoftBank in a transaction valued at $40 billion. SoftBank will retain a stake in Arm, expected to be under 10%.

• Motorola Solutions has purchased Pelco, a global provider of video security solutions.

• Palo Alto Networks has agreed to buy The Crypsis Group, an incident response, risk management and digital forensics consulting firm, for $265 million.

• Pure Storage has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase Portworx, a Kubernetes data services player for $370 million.

• Qlik, a Thoma Bravo company, has acquired the assets and IP of Knarr Analytics, an innovative startup that provides real-time collaboration, sophisticated data exploration and insight capture capabilities.

• Qualcomm Ventures will invest in Jio Platforms.

• SAP has acquired a minority stake in Vistex, an ISV partner that develops go-to-market, pricing, rights and royalty management, and other applications that work with SAP’s core ERP software. It will also acquire Austrian-based Emarsys, a cloud-based marketing platform.

• SecureWorks has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Delve, a vulnerability management provider.

• Slack has purchased Rimeto, a business directory provider.

• SUSE has agreed to buy Rancher Labs, a container startup that’s a force in the Kubernetes market.

• VMware has agreed to buy Datrium to bolster its cloud-based disaster recovery capabilities, Blue Medora’s True Visibility Suite business unit, which develops tools popular in the VMware ecosystem for automating management of applications as well as hybrid infrastructure, and software automation specialist SaltStack.

• Wipro has signed an agreement to acquire Brazil-based IVIA Serviços de Informática, and a definitive agreement to acquire 4C, one of the largest Salesforce partners in the UK, Europe and the Middle East.

• Zebra Technologies has acquired Reflexis Systems, a privately-held provider of intelligent workforce management, execution and communication solutions for organisations in the retail, food service, hospitality and banking industries.

International developments
• A £15 million fine has been levied on Deloitte for its audit of Autonomy prior to the software company’s acquisition by HP in 2011. A UK court found the audit contained ‘serious and serial failures’.

• Google, Qualcomm and Nokia Technologies have invested in HMD Global, the maker of Nokia-branded smartphones.

• Sharp, a unit of Taiwan's Foxconn, will spin off its low-margin liquid crystal display and camera module businesses.

Big tech
• Apple has become the first company to reach a market capitalisation of $2 trillion, which will be of little comfort to the EU and the Irish state as Europe's second-highest court rejected an EU order for Apple to pay €13 billion in Irish back taxes.

• Australia will force Facebook and Google to pay Australian media outlets for news content. Google has announced plans to pay $1 billion to publishers globally for their content over the next three years.

• Epic Games, the software publisher behind Fortnite, has sued Apple and Google after removal of the game from their app stores. However, a US federal judge has blocked Apple from shutting down an Epic Games tool, Unreal Engine, which is relied on by hundreds of other app makers.

• Facebook France has accepted paying more than €100 million in taxes, including a penalty relating to its accounting years before 2018, and has received a federal court's preliminary approval for a $650 million settlement related to a lawsuit that alleged the social media giant gathered biometric data of millions of its users without their consent.

• Facebook, Alphabet-owned YouTube, Twitter and other social media will, for the first time, be subject to EU broadcasting rules on hate speech and harmful content under new European Commission guidelines.

• Google has received a record fine from Belgium's data protection authority of €600 000 for not complying with European rules on a person's 'right to be forgotten' online.

• Chinese artificial intelligence company Shanghai Zhizhen Intelligent Network Technology (aka Xiao-i) has filed a lawsuit against Apple, alleging it has infringed on its patents.

Local deals
• Altron is trying to sell three subsidiaries – Altron Document Solutions, Altron People Solutions and Altron Arrow – that it says don’t align with its new business strategy. The group has also announced plans to retrench 600 employees.

• Alviva is in takeover discussions with competitor distributor Tarsus Technology Group (See page 32).

• Ayo Technology Solutions has entered into an agreement to acquire Kathea Communication and 60% of Kathea Energy for about R89.8 million.

• Datatec’s Logicalis Latin America has acquired a 30% stake in Brazil-based Kumulus, a specialist in Microsoft cloud and data managed services.

• Kalon Venture Partners has invested in Sendmarc, a cybersecurity startup.

• MyChargeBack, a global fund recovery service provider, has opened an office in SA.

• Naspers Foundry invested in Food Supply Network, the early-stage business funding initiative’s third investment deal to date.

• Standard Bank has acquired a 35% equity stake in digital escrow company TradeSafe Escrow.

• TeleMasters has acquired Contineo Virtual Communications (R1.15 million), a provider of wholesale cloud communications solutions, and PerfectWorx Consulting (R1.35 million), a networking systems integrator specialising in next-generation IP voice technologies.

Local developments
• BCX has revealed plans to retrench approximately 300 permanent employees, according to TechCentral.

• EOH has been fined R7.5 million for falsifying previous financial results.

• Liquid Telecom SA has announced a strategic re-positioning as Liquid Intelligent Technologies.

• South African investigators are seeking to recover more than R400 million from SAP for two government contracts they allege were entered into unlawfully.

African developments
• Facebook plans to open an office in Lagos, Nigeria – its second office in Africa.

• Kenya’s government has gazetted a new ICT policy, which mandates that foreign ICT companies facilitate 30% local ownership.

• Plans are afoot for MTN to exit the Middle East and focus on its burgeoning operations on the continent.