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Column

Google on acquisition trail

The company bought AIMatter and Senosis Health in the past week.

Two acquisitions by Google and investment activity from Alibaba were the main stories of a quiet international ICT market last week.

At home, Vodacom's Tanzania listing was one of the highlights.

Key local news

* A negative trading update from Stella Capital Partners.
* Former Square One chairman Garth Coetser and his two co-accused, Anton Meyer and Clifford Stevens, were each sentenced to an effective 25-year prison sentence for defrauding SARS of R216 million.
* Ricoh SA has implemented a black ownership structure that achieves 52.4% black and black women ownership.
* A new JSE cautionary by PBT Group.
* The appointment of Andrew Matseke as CEO of Broadband Infraco.
* The resignation of Pakamile Pongwana, CEO of ICASA.

Key African news

* Very good quarterly figures from Telecom Egypt, with revenue up 41% and EBITDA up 39%.
* East Africa's largest online payment processor, Direct Pay Online Group, acquired Virtual Card Services SA as the latest stop on its acquisition trail to create a pan-African payment processor.
* The MENA region mobile payments specialist Tpay bought DCBEgypt, the second-largest provider of direct carrier billing in Egypt.
* Vodacom Tanzania has listed on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange.

Key international news

* Alphabet (Google) acquired Belarus-based AIMatter, a company that uses a neural network to help detect and process images on mobile devices.
* Alphabet (Google) also bought Senosis Health, a start-up that turns smartphones into medical devices and collects various health stats.
* Pivotel, which offers services in the Australian market via Globalstar, Inmarsat, Iridium and Thuraya satellite networks, purchased US-based Global Marine Networks.
* Syntel Telecom, a unit of Arvind, acquired two divisions of Enkay Technologies (India), ie, the unified communications and audio-visual system integration divisions.
* A group of investors, including the Alibaba Group Holding, made a $1.1 billion investment in an Indonesian e-commerce firm, PT Tokopedia.
* Ten technology and state-owned groups, including Alibaba, Baidu, Didi Chuxing and Tencent Holdings, made an $11.7 billion investment in China Unicom.
* Ericsson is suing French-Chinese smartphone maker Wiko in two German regional courts over patent infringements.

Vodacom Tanzania has listed on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange.

* CellSavers, a US-Israeli company that provides instant services for smart devices, is changing its name to Puls.
* JD.com has split off its finance and logistics units.
* Excellent quarterly results from Alibaba and Tencent Holdings.
* Very good quarterly figures from Applied Materials.
* Good quarterly numbers from Photronics, Powerchip, Quanta Computer and Synopsys.
* Satisfactory quarterly results from Acer, Agilent, CACI International, Inventec and NetApp.
* Satisfactory half-year figures from China Unicom.
* Mediocre quarterly results from Cisco, Pegatron and Wideopenwest.
* Mixed quarterly figures from Extreme Networks, with revenue up but profit down; Formula Systems, with revenue up but profit down; Partner Communications, with revenue down but profit up; and Viavi Solutions, with revenue down but back in the black.
* Quarterly losses from Asure Software, Fusion, Harte Hanks, HTC, JD.com, Lenovo and Top Image Systems.
* A full-year loss from Allied Minds.
* The appointments of Roger Lynch as CEO of Pandora Media; and Pravin Rao as interim MD and CEO of Infosys.
* The resignation of Vishal Sikka, MD and CEO of Infosys (stays on as vice-chairman).
* A possible IPO from Rovio Entertainment, the maker of the Angry Birds game.
* A planned IPO for September from contract manufacturer Dixon Technologies.

Research results and predictions

Worldwide:
* The total worldwide wearable band market grew 8% in Q217, according to Canalys.
* Worldwide spending on information security products and services will reach $86.4 billion in 2017, an increase of 7% over 2016, with spending expected to grow to $93 billion in 2018, according to Gartner.

Stock market changes

* JSE All share index: Up 0.3%
* FTSE100: Up 0.2%
* DAX: Up 1.3%
* NYSE (Dow): Down 0.8%
* S&P 500: Down 0.6%
* Nasdaq: Down 0.6%
* Nikkei225: Down 1.3%
* Hang Seng: Up 0.6%
* Shanghai: Up 1.9%

Look out for

International:
* AT&T exploring options for its Digital Life home security business, including selling it.

South Africa:
* Financial services group Sanlam acquiring a 30% stake of JSE-listed Purple Group's online investment platform, EasyEquities, in a deal worth R100 million. EasyEquities is a disruptive, technology-focused fintech company that owns and operates an online investment platform.

Final word

Forbes recently published its 2017 ‘Most innovative growth companies' list. From a technology perspective, the following were included in the top 100:
* 7: The Ultimate Software Group
* 8: Pandora Media
* 21: Kakuku.com (Japan)
* 22: Tyler Technologies
* 27: HangZhou Liaison Interactive Information Technology (China)
* 28: Tongfang Guoxin Electronics (China)
* 33: LogMein
* 42: Aspen Technology
* 46: Shenzhen Sunway Communication (China)
* 53: East Money Information (China)
* 64: Fortinet
* 68: Ellie Mae
* 70: Paysafe Group
* 71: MercadoLibre (Argentina)
* 75: iFlytek (China)
* 80: Wuhan Guide Infrared (China)
* 81: Cavium
* 82: Hundsun Technologies (China)
* 83: Blackbaud
* 84: Wonders Information (China)
* 86: Glarun Technology (China)
* 87: Crystal-Optech (China)
* 96: Shanghai 2345 Network Holding Group (China)
* 97: Mail.ru (Russia)
* 100: Universal Display


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