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Column

SoftBank takes investments to the bank

The company made significant investments in Roivant, Fanatics and Flipkart.

Two more acquisitions by Accenture and the investments involving SoftBank were the highlights of the international ICT market last week.

At home, the completion of Cell C's recapitalisation was the main local story.

Key local news

* A positive trading update from Alviva Holdings.
* Decision Inc acquired ABM Systems, a business intelligence and performance management company in Australia.
* Blue Label's recapitalisation of Cell C has been completed.
* Lycamobile, one of the world's largest mobile virtual network operators, has firmed up its plans to launch services in SA, piggybacking on Cell C's network.
* The MICT SETA CEO has been named in corruption allegations at this government entity.
* Former Square One bosses have been found guilty in a R216 million fraud case involving SARS and VAT.
* Tencent Africa, a joint venture between China's Tencent and Naspers, have entered the competitive local music streaming market.

Key African news

* Vodacom Tanzania will be listed on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange on or about 15 August, following a successful IPO.
* Helios Towers Tanzania (HTT), the Tanzanian subsidiary of independent telecoms tower infrastructure company Helios Towers Africa, has reached an agreement with Zanzibar Telecom (Zantel) for the acquisition of all unique sites of its mainland tower portfolio. Through the acquisition, HTT says it hopes to grow its telecom tower sites in Tanzania to around 3 700 owned towers.
* Defunct mobile operator Bell Benin Communication has had its telecoms licence revoked for failure to meet its operating obligations regarding continuity of service and non-payment of debts.
* The appointment of Rakesh Parbhoo as CEO of Westcon-Comstor Southern Africa.

Key international news

* Accenture acquired Concrete Solutions, a Brazilian company that specialises in applying lean and agile software development; and Wire Stone, a US-based creative marketing agency that brings together technology and creativity to create better customer experiences and digital marketing solutions methodologies to develop cloud-based mobile solutions and Web applications.
* Kyocera bought Senco Holdings, a tool manufacturer.
* Logitech International purchased Astro Gaming, a console gaming brand with a history of producing award-winning headsets for professional gamers and enthusiasts.
* Netflix acquired Millarworld, a comics publisher.
* PayPal bought Swift Financial, an online lending firm, in an effort to expand the online payments company's business that offers working capital to merchants.
* Taptica, an Israeli mobile advertisement company, purchased Tremor Video's demand-side platform for $50 million.
* Tableau Software acquired ClearGraph, a start-up that enables smart data discovery and data analysis through natural language query technology.

Blue Label's recapitalisation of Cell C has been completed.

* Delta Electronics, a power supply maker and energy management solution provider, invested in a stake of between 35% and 55% in Vivotek, a developer of security surveillance solutions including network cameras, video servers and image processing software.
* Omantel made an $846 million investment in Zain.
* SoftBank led a $1.1 billion investment in Roivant, a privately held biotech company.
* SoftBank also made a $1 billion investment in Fanatics, the sports e-commerce company.
* SoftBank's new $93 billion Vision Fund made a $2.5 billion investment into online retailer Flipkart.
* Toyota made a $94.7 million investment in Preferred Networks.
* A strategic partnership was formed between Digital Guardian, a next-generation data protection platform purpose built to stop data theft, and Zix, a provider of e-mail security.
* US trade officials have agreed to investigate Qualcomm's allegations that Apple infringed on patents with its iPhone 7 and other devices.
* Apple was hit with an anti-trust lawsuit by Chinese app makers accusing the company of monopolistic behaviour for removing their programs from the Apple App Store.
* Microsoft and Kaspersky Lab have settled a dispute that led to anti-trust complaints in Europe and an investigation in Russia.
* Kaspersky Lab said it would withdraw anti-trust complaints made in Europe against Microsoft after the US technology giant agreed to change how it delivers security updates to Windows users.
* A path has been cleared for telecommunications company Avaya to exit Chapter 11 bankruptcy in an agreement with its senior creditors and the government's pension insurer.
* Essential Products, the smartphone start-up founded in 2015 by a co-creator of the Android mobile operating system, Andy Rubin, has raised $300 million in new funding and signed up retailers, including Amazon, to sell its first device. Other strategic investors included Tencent Holdings, Foxconn and Amazon.com.
* Liberty Global remains on track for a spin-off of its Latin American arm, known as LiLAC, by the end of the year, as it readies the division for an expected industry shake-up in the region. The move to split Liberty Global, predominantly a European cable company, and LiLAC, which comprises the merged Cable & Wireless Communications and Columbus networks in the Caribbean and Latin America, comes as the company prepares for the next stage of consolidation in the regions where it operates.
* The CEO of Telit has taken a leave of absence following speculation he is a fugitive from a historical fraud charge.
* Excellent quarterly results from DXC Technology, Nvidia and ON Semiconductor.
* Very good quarterly figures from Alarm.com, Amtech Systems (back in the black), Ceragon Networks, Quantenna Communications (back in the black), Tactile Systems Technology, Weibo and YY.
* Very good half-year figures from Accton.
* Good quarterly numbers from Diodes, GoDaddy (back in the black), II-VI, IIJ, MDC Partners, MTS Systems, NetEase, Sina, Square Enix, TeleTech, Vantiv and Xplore (back in the black).
* Good half-year numbers from Line Corporation and Telecom Argentina.
* Satisfactory quarterly results from Alpha & Omega Semiconductor, Aspen Technology, Cable One, ChipMOS Technologies, Ebix, Epistar (back in the black), Esco Technologies, First Data, Gilat Satellite Networks (back in the black), Pegasystems, Trend Micro and Zebra Technologies (back in the black).
* Mediocre quarterly results from IEC Electronics, Pixelworks and SMIC.
* Mediocre half-year numbers from Zain Group.
* Mixed half-year figures from Avnet, with revenue up but profit down; Convergys, with revenue down but profit up; CSRA, with revenue down but profit up; CyberArk, with revenue up but profit down; EchoStar, with revenue up but profit down; KYEC, with revenue up but profit down; Lumos Networks, with revenue up but profit down; Magic Software, with revenue up but profit down; MaxLinear, with revenue up but profit down; Silver Spring Networks, with revenue up but profit down; Softbank, with revenue up but profit down; Sykes Enterprises, with revenue up but profit down; and Telus, with revenue up but profit down.
* Quarterly losses from Airgain, Black Box, Bottomline Technologies, BroadSoft, CDI, Cogint, Conduent, DASN Zhone Solutions, eMagin, Envestnet, Everspin Technologies, Gartner, GDS Holdings, Identiv, Information Services Group, Inphi, Inseego, Lattice Semiconductor, Liberty Global, Lumentum, Maxwell Technologies, Mimecast, NII, Nuance Communications, PC-Tel, Quantum, QuickLogic, Quotient, Radcom, Rapid7, Sapiens International, Smith Micro, Snap, Spark Networks, Stratasys, Superconductor Technologies, Synacor, Tesaro, Tetra Technologies, Twilio, Upland Software, Veritone, ViaSat and Westell.
* A half-year loss from Telit.
* The appointments of HH Chiang as president and CEO of TPK; Alan Harper as acting CEO of Avanti; Alexander Ljung as chairman of SoundCloud (was CEO); and Kerry Trainor as CEO of SoundCloud.
* The retirement of Ziv Aviram, Mobileye's co-founder and CEO, following Intel's acquisition of the company.
* The departure of David Williams, CEO of Avanti.

Research results and predictions

Worldwide:
* The global smartphone market grew by 7% year-on-year to 350.9 million units, from 320 million units in Q216, according to IHS Markit.

Stock market changes

* JSE All share index: Down 1.4%
* FTSE100: Down 2.7%
* DAX: Down 2.3%
* NYSE (Dow): Down 1.1%
* S&P 500: Down 1.4%
* Nasdaq: Down 1.5%
* Nikkei225: Down 1.1%
* Hang Seng: Down 2.5%
* Shanghai: Down 1.6%

Look out for

International:
A $185 billion bid for Charter Communications by Altice.
* Fiserv finalising its £75 million deal with Monitise, the British financial services technology group.
* Sprint merging with T-Mobile US.
* The take-over of RingCentral, a cloud-based business communications services provider.

South Africa:
* Further developments regarding the future of Dimension Data's African operations.

Final word

Fortune magazine recently published its 2017 ‘Global 500' rankings. The following is some further analysis of this listing:

Newcomers and returnees:
* Alibaba at 462 (newcomer)
* Altice at 473 (newcomer)
* Charter Communications at 376 (newcomer)
* Dell Technologies at 124 (returnee following acquisition of EMC)
* Facebook at 393 (newcomer)
* HPE at 181 (newcomer following split from HP)
* Nokia at 415 (returnee)
* Tencent Holdings at 478 (newcomer)

Displacements:
* EMC (was 436 and acquired by Dell)
* Ingram Micro (was 218 and acquired by Tianjin Tianhai)
* Telstra (was 482)
* Toshiba (was 169)

Major movers:
* Compal Electronics at 458 (was 400)
* Ericsson at 419 (was 357)
* HP at 194 (was 48)
* Huawei at 83 (was 129)
* JD.com at 261 (was 366)
* Qualcomm at 460 (was 422)
* Quanta Computer at 390 (was 326)
* Telecom Italia at 493 (was 404)

Biggest profit:
* 1: Apple
* 9: Alphabet
* 10: Samsung Electronics
* 19: Softbank
* 20: Verizon Communications
* 23: IBM
* 24: Cisco

Biggest increase in revenue:
* 10: Nokia
* 13: Facebook
* 19: Alibaba
* 25: Altice

Biggest increase in profit:
* 9: Amazon.com
* 10: Telefonica
* 12: Softbank
* 15: Facebook


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