Dell to sell RSA

The company will sell its cyber security unit for $2.08 billion to a consortium led by Symphony Technology Group, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board and AlpInvest Partners.
Paul Booth
By Paul Booth
Johannesburg, 24 Feb 2020

The RSA sell-off by Dell and acquisitions or potential acquisitions by Accenture, Google, Nokia and Twitter dominated the international ICT market last week.

At home, there were a handful of smallish acquisitions and investments.

Key local news of the past week

  • Mixed interim numbers from Silverbridge Holdings, with revenue down 1.5% but back in the black.
  • Positive trading updates from Metrofile and Mustek.
  • UK-based Epsidon Technology Holdings acquired Nology, a leading specialist value-added distributor of converged IP solutions to service providers, network operators, systems integrators and resellers across Southern Africa.
  • XContent Business Solutions, a Microsoft Gold partner, bought the IT Business division of Auric Consulting, a Silver Microsoft partner.
  • Naspers led an additional $113 million investment in food delivery platform Swiggy.
  • Woven, a UK-based contact centre and BPO services provider, has bought SA-based BYC Aqua Solutions, a provider of call centre solutions.
  • A R1 billion smart electronics factory in East London, Yekani Manufacturing, is seeking business rescue to avoid being liquidated.
  • ICASA has published new draft BBEE regulations for the ICT sector, promising a big shake-up for the industry.
  • A withdrawn JSE cautionary by Ayo Technology Solutions.
  • The appointment of Kamil Patel as chairman of 4Sight Holdings.

Key African news

  • Airtel Malawi’s IPO has been oversubscribed by 34% and the over-allotment allocated to prospective shareholders.
  • Maroc Telecom is looking to appeal a fine of approximately $340 million it received from the country's National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.

Key international news

  • Accenture acquired VanBerlo, an award-winning Dutch product design and innovation agency.
  • Google Cloud bought Cornerstone Technology in a deal that will help customers move workloads to Google Cloud from their mainframes.
  • Gordon Flesch, an office technology solution provider and MSP, purchased Information Technology Partners, another MSP.
  • Lyft acquired Halo Cars, a start-up that focuses on car-top advertising.
  • Quorum, which is backed by Thoma Bravo, bought EnergyIQ, a data manager that specialises in well data management software related to upstream exploration and production.

Google Cloud bought Cornerstone Technology in a deal that will help customers move workloads to Google Cloud from their mainframes.

  • Wipro Digital, the digital business unit of tech services major Wipro, purchased Rational Interaction, a full-service digital customer experience company.
  • Ansira Partners, an independent global marketing services and solutions company, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire CDK’s digital marketing business.
  • Cellcom Israel will buy smaller rival Golan Telecom for $172.59 million.
  • Dell Technologies will sell its cyber security unit RSA for $2.08 billion to a consortium led by Symphony Technology Group, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board and AlpInvest Partners.
  • Dialog Semiconductor is buying Adesto Technologies ($500 million), a leading provider of innovative custom integrated circuits and embedded systems for the industrial Internet of things market.
  • Swedish video game group Embracer is buying US game developer Saber Interactive for up to $525 million.
  • Five9 has made a definitive agreement to acquire Virtual Observer, formerly known as CSI, an innovative provider of cloud-based workforce optimisation and workforce engagement management solutions.
  • iClick Interactive Asia has agreed to acquire an 80% equity interest in Optimal Power, a subsidiary wholly owned by Creative Big, which provides digital marketing resources in various fields, including digital marketing channels, content marketing and social media marketing.
  • Kyocera will acquire all the outstanding shares of AVX that it does not own. The former currently owns about 72% of the outstanding shares of AVX common stock and, following completion of this transaction, AVX will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kyocera.
  • New Mexico’s attorney general is suing Alphabet's Google search engine, alleging its educational software collects young students' personal information without the required parental consent.
  • Nokia has agreed to acquire privately held US-based Elenion Technologies to boost its optical networking business and broaden its offering to telecoms operators.
  • Twitter is buying Chroma Labs, a seven-person start-up that was founded by former Facebook and Instagram employees for building photo and video-editing features.
  • Ultimate Software and Kronos are merging in a deal that will create a big new player in workplace-software products. Hellman & Friedman currently controls both companies and will remain the controlling shareholder of the combined entity.
  • Insight Partners led a $210 million investment in OneTrust, the most widely used privacy, security and trust technology platform used by more than 5 000 companies to comply with the CCPA, GDPR, ISO27001 and hundreds of the world's privacy and security laws.
  • Insight Partners led a $200 million investment in SentinelOne, the autonomous endpoint protection company.
  • UK-based Nanoco, a nanotechnology company, has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Samsung Electronics and affiliates in the US relating to quantum dots.
  • Very good quarterly figures from Inovalon (back in the black), InterDigital and Universal Display.
  • Good quarterly numbers from Acacia Communications, American Software, Envestnet (back in the black), Garmin, Gilat Satellite Networks, and MagnaChip Semiconductor (back in the black).
  • Good half-year figures from Blancco Technology Group.
  • Good year-end numbers from Bouygues Telecom.
  • Satisfactory quarterly results from Camtek, Cardtronics (back in the black), EPAM Systems, Globant, Lenovo, SBA Communications, Spark NZ and Universal Electronics (back in the black).
  • Satisfactory year-end figures from Atos, Deutsche Telekom and Sopra Steria.
  • Mediocre quarterly results from Analog Devices, DISH Network,, TowerJazz and Xperi.
  • Mixed quarterly figures from Five9, Leidos, Synopsys, TDS, Telefonica Brasil, Turkcell, US Cellular, Verisk Analytics, Visteon and, with revenue up but net income down; and from BE Semiconductor Industries, Groupon and Quad/Graphics (back in the black), with revenue down but net income up.
  • Very poor quarterly figures from Airgain and CyberOptics.
  • Quarterly losses from Appian, ATN International, AXT, Bandwidth, Brightcove, Casa Systems, CommScope, Conduent, Consolidated Communications, Dropbox, EchoStar, Everbridge, FARO Technologies, Fastly, Fitbit, Intelsat, nLight, OneConnect Financial Technology, Rogers, Scientific Games, Telefonica, TiVo, USA Technologies, ViacomCBS, Vonage, Workiva, Zix, Zovio and Zscaler.
  • A half-year loss from Tensense Technologies.
  • Full-year losses from CloudCoCo and Technicolor.
  • The appointments of Joshua Bixby as CEO of Fastly; Bahk Jae-wan as chairman of Samsung Electronics; and David Raun as interim president and CEO of One Stop Systems.
  • The resignation of Artur Bergman, CEO of Fastly (stays on as executive chairman).
  • The departure of Steve Cooper, co-founder and CEO of One Stop Systems.

Research results and predictions

  • The Middle East and Africa's banking and finance industry spent $12.68 billion on ICT in 2019, according to IDC.
  • Global notebook unit shipments for Q120 are estimated to experience a larger sequential fall of 29%-36% than the 17% projected earlier, as severe labour and components shortages and stagnant logistics arising from the coronavirus outbreak are derailing the supply chain in China, which commands over 90% of global notebook production, according to Digitimes Research.
  • Global smartphone shipments are expected to reach 1.278 billion units in 2020, including less than 200 million units of 5G models, considering the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on China and around the world in terms of economic growth, according to Digitimes Research.
  • Worldwide spending on ICT will be $4.3 trillion in 2020, an increase of 3.6% over 2019, according to IDC.
  • The worldwide hardcopy peripherals market saw its overall shipment value grow 0.9% year-over-year to approximately $11.9 billion in 4Q19, according to IDC. Unit shipments during the quarter declined 5.4% to 25.3 million.

Stock market changes

  • JSE All share index: Down 0.9%
  • FTSE100: Down 0.1%
  • DAX: Down 1.2%
  • NYSE (Dow): Down 1.4%
  • S&P 500: Down 1.3%
  • Nasdaq: Down 1.6%
  • Nikkei225: Down 1.3%
  • Hang Seng: Down 1.8%
  • Shanghai: Up 4.2%

Look out for


  • Softbank investing in Behavox, a UK-based start-up that develops AI to help employers snoop on their staff.
  • Further developments regarding the HP/Xerox takeover battle.

South Africa:

  • Reaction to the proposed new draft regulations from ICASA.

Final word

Barron’s has recently published its latest rankings of the USA’s 100 most sustainable companies. Included in the list are:

  • 2: Texas Instruments (was 5)
  • 6: HP (was 4)
  • 7: Cisco (was 2)
  • 9: Avnet (was 97)
  • 10: Autodesk (was 21)
  • 11: Nvidia (was 55)
  • 15: ON Semiconductor (was 59)
  • 19: Motorola Solutions (was 9)
  • 29: Adobe (new entrant)
  • 30: Verizon Communications (was 63)
  • 31: (was 11)
  • 38: Keysight Technologies (was 34)
  • 42: Microsoft (was 43)
  • 43: CenturyLink (was 50)
  • 47: Lam Research (was 20)
  • 58: Teradata (was 37)
  • 62: Xerox (was 70)
  • 63: Lumentum (new entrant)
  • 67: Intuit (was 13)
  • 73: Xilinx (was 82)
  • 74: KLA (new entrant)
  • 76: DXC Technology (was 44)
  • 80: Cree (new entrant)
  • 84: Applied Materials (was 25)
  • 99: Coherent (new entrant)