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EU imposes new rules on content moderation, user privacy

The world's biggest tech companies face unprecedented legal scrutiny under the EU's sweeping Digital Services Act.
Paul Booth
By Paul Booth
Johannesburg, 04 Sept 2023
Paul Booth
Paul Booth

ARM’s IPO filing, Francisco Partners’ agreement to acquire IBM’s The Weather Company and Silver Lake’s acquisition of Software AG dominated the technology sector last month.

Key local news

  • Canada’s Vela Software Group acquired GreatSoft, a South African provider of practice management solutions to accountancy firms.
  • Blue Label Telecoms has agreed to acquire control of Cell C, taking its shareholding beyond 50%.
  • MasterCard will buy a minority stake in MTN Group's fintech division, based on a cash and debt-free enterprise valuation of approximately $5.2 billion.
  • India-based Redington, a technology solution provider, is expanding to the South African market, offering more than 15 global brands and opening support offices in Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg.
  • Reunert’s shares are to be traded on A2X as a secondary listing.
  • SA’s Competition Commission has found that Google’s dominance in internet search in SA “distorts platform competition” in favour of large market players and has recommended several remedies to counter this.
  • SA’s Competition Commission has ordered e-tailer to separate its retail division from its marketplace operations to avoid anti-competitive practices against the sellers listed on its platform.
  • The further investment by Cape Town-based venture capital firm HAVAÍC in RapidDeploy, a cloud-native platform for public safety.
  • The appointments of new CEOs, MDs, etc at the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies and Ricoh South Africa.

Key African news

  • Airtel Africa’s Ugandan subsidiary, Airtel Uganda, will soon be floated on the Ugandan Securities Exchange (USE) exchange.
  • The Competition Commission has recommended the prohibiting of the proposed move by Vodacom to merge with Maziv, a newly created company that owns fibre network operators Vumatel and Dark Fibre Africa.
  • African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM) and N+ONE Datacentres are working together to build a new Pan-African data centre and cloud services platform. N+ONE will contribute its current portfolio of digital infrastructure assets in Morocco, while AIIM will invest an initial $90 million in growth equity through its most recent pan-African infrastructure fund, African Infrastructure Investment Fund 4.
  • TikTok will open an office in Kenya.
  • The appointments of new CEOs and MDs at Cisco and Mimecast.

Key international news

  • Accenture acquired Anser Advisory, an advisory and management company for infrastructure projects in the US; and ATI Solutions Group, an Australia-based consulting service provider to the mining, energy and rail industries.
  • Akamai Technologies bought the assets, including select enterprise customer contracts, from StackPath, following the latter’s decision to cease its content delivery network operations.
  • ADP purchased Honu HR, a low-code intelligent workflow automation and data integration tool.
  • AMD acquired France-based Mipsology, an AI software start-up.
  • The Bechtle Group bought German-based Sastema, a security expert specialising in identity and access management.
  • Bentley Systems purchased Blyncsy, a provider of breakthrough artificial intelligence (AI) services for departments of transportation to support operations and maintenance activities.

Silver Lake has secured an 84.29% stake in Software AG.

  • Cisco Systems acquired Greece-based Code BGP, a privately held border gateway protocol monitoring company. It also intends to acquire cloud native mobile core developer Working Group Two ($150 million).
  • Enghouse Systems bought most of the assets of Lifesize, a cloud communications company.
  • Endava, a global provider of digital transformation, agile development and intelligent automation services, purchased TLM Partners, together with its subsidiaries. TLM provides outsourced development services across design, engineering and art/animation for PC and console video games and other digital entertainment.
  • EventMobi, an event management software provider, acquired Andreessen Horowitz-backed online events platform Run The World.
  • Gordon Brothers bought Telefunken, a German consumer electronics company.
  • iBUS, a digital infrastructure solutions company, acquired Sheltera Construction, to strengthen its foothold in the small cell and optic fibre domains.
  • InflowCX bought Canada-based software development firm NetFore.
  • InMobi, provider of content monetisation and marketing technologies, purchased Quantcast Choice, a consent management platform designed to help publishers align with the changing global privacy regulations.
  • Insight acquired software development specialist Amdaris.
  • The Juniper Group bought Vervotech, a tech start-up making significant strides in the travel industry with innovative products, particularly hotel mapping and room mapping solutions.
  • NV5 Global, a provider of technology, conformity assessment and consulting solutions, purchased Red Technologies, a provider of IT and utility infrastructure services for mission-critical data centres.
  • OpenAI acquired Global Illumination, a digital products company, in what comes as the first known acquisition by the storied AI firm.
  • Priority Technology, a platform for unified commerce that delivers integrated payments and banking at scale, has completed the acquisition of most of the assets of Nearside Business Corporation, as well as the equity of Plastiq Canada and Plastiq.
  • RadiSys bought Mimosa Networks from Airspan Networks Holdings.
  • RingCentral purchased selected assets from Hopin, a provider of online audience engagement technology, including its flagship Events platform and Session product.
  • Roper Technologies acquired Syntellis Performance Solutions, a provider of cloud-based performance management and data solutions for healthcare, financial institutions and higher education ($1.25 billion).
  • Rubrik, a zero-trust data security vendor, bought Laminar, a data security posture management platform.
  • The SoftBank Group purchased a 25% stake in Arm it does not directly own from its Vision Fund unit, in a deal that values the chip designer at $64 billion.
  • Sprout Social acquired Tagger Media, an influencer marketing and social intelligence platform.
  • Terrapinn/Total Telecom bought Broadband Communities, a publishing and events business specialising in the provision and delivery of broadband services in the US.
  • The Purple Guys bought two IT managed service providers, Advantex and Herrod Technology.
  • Tyler Technologies purchased Computing System Innovations, a company that provides AI automation, redaction and indexing solutions for courts, recorders, attorneys and others.
  • UST acquired MobileComm, a global telecoms engineering firm with over 21 years of experience.
  • Services provider Xalient bought Integral Partners, a digital identity consulting and advisory firm.
  • India-based Xoriant, an IT services provider, purchased India-based Thoucentric Technology, a consulting firm.
  • Activision will sell its non-European streaming rights to Ubisoft Entertainment to get the biggest deal yet in video-gaming past British regulators.
  • Alibaba Group's work communication and collaboration platform DingTalk will split from the company's cloud division and possibly file for an IPO.
  • Allied Motion Technologies will change its name to Allient.
  • Archimed SAS has agreed to take Instem private, which is a UK-based life sciences software company (£203 million).
  • Atos has entered into an agreement with Luxembourg-based EP Equity Investment for the latter to acquire Atos’s Tech Foundations business (€2 billion).
  • Bosch, a German technology group, will establish a joint venture with TSMC, Infineon and NXP Semiconductor, with the aim of building a wafer fab in Dresden, Germany by the second half of next year.
  • Belgium-based IT solutions provider Cegeka plans to acquire Computer Task Group, a digital IT solution and services provider ($170 million).
  • Chinese automaker BYD’s electronics unit has struck a deal with Jabil to buy its mobile electronics manufacturing business in China ($2.2 billion).
  • Check Point Software Technologies has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Perimeter 81, a pioneering Security Service Edge company.
  • Chindata Group will go private in a sweetened $3.16 billion deal with Bain Capital.
  • Cognex has agreed to buy Japanese optical component producer Moritex ($273.49 million)
  • Crocus Technology, a leader in advanced tunnel magneto-resistance sensor technology, has signed a definitive agreement to be acquired by Allegro MicroSystems ($420 million).
  • Dish Network and EchoStar have entered into a definitive agreement to combine in an all-stock merger.
  • DoubleVerify has entered into an agreement to buy Scibids Technology SAS, a global AI-powered digital campaign optimisation company ($125 million).
  • DuPont De Nemours has agreed to sell an 80.1% stake in its Delrin resins unit to private equity firm TJC, formerly known as The Jordan Company ($1.8 billion).
  • Dynatrace has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Rookout, a provider of enterprise-ready and privacy-aware solutions that enable developers to quickly troubleshoot and debug actively running code in Kubernetes-hosted cloud-native applications.
  • Emirates Telecommunications Group Company e& has agreed to acquire Czech-based PPF Group’s telecoms assets in Bulgaria, Hungary, Serbia and Slovakia (€2.5 billion).
  • EQT plans to take Frankfurt-listed open source software company SUSE private; it already owns 79% of the shares and has sold its remaining stake in Indian digital IT solutions and consulting services provider Coforge.
  • Five9, the Intelligent CX Platform provider, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Aceyus, a market leader in advanced data integration and analytics.
  • Francisco Partners has agreed to buy IBM’s The Weather Company.
  • Fujitsu is closing its BU Client Computing Devices operations in Europe and will no longer sell PCs, notebooks, workstations and peripherals from April 2024.
  • Garmin has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire JL Audio, a privately held US company that designs and manufactures audio solutions for marine, aftermarket automotive, powersports, home and RV customers.
  • General Atlantic and Dragoneer Investment Group have agreed to buy Arco Platform, a Brazilian-listed education software company ($1.5 billion).
  • Immersed, a maker of software used in augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) technology for remote working, has struck a deal to go public through a merger with Maquia Capital Acquisition Corporation, a blank check acquisition firm.
  • Intel  has terminated its plans to acquire Israeli contract chipmaker Tower Semiconductor.
  • The Italian government has signed a preliminary agreement with KKR to take up to a 20% stake in Telecom Italia's landline network as the firm prepares to make a €23 billion binding offer for the business.
  • L Catterton is acquiring Thorne HealthTech, which uses AI models to provide insights and data, products and services that help individuals improve and maintain their health ($680 million).
  • Spyware maker LetMeSpy is no longer operational and is in the process of shutting down after a data breach in June wiped all its servers.
  • Mind Technology has agreed to sell its Klein Marine Systems unit to General Oceans.
  • More than a dozen of the world's biggest tech companies face unprecedented legal scrutiny as the European Union's sweeping Digital Services Act (DSA) imposes new rules on content moderation, user privacy and transparency. A host of internet giants, including Meta's Facebook and Instagram platforms, Apple's online App Store and a handful of Google services will face new obligations in the EU, including preventing harmful content from spreading, banning or limiting certain user-targeting practices and sharing some internal data with regulators and associated researchers.
  • New Relic, the all-in-one observability platform for every engineer, has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Francisco Partners and TPG ($6.5 billion).
  • OVHcloud is in exclusive negotiations for the full acquisition of German software provider gridscale.
  • Prosus NV plans to sell part of its emerging markets financial technology company PayU to Israel’s Rapyd ($610 million).
  • Renesas Electronics and Sequans Communications have entered into a memorandum of understanding for the former to commence a tender offer to acquire all outstanding ordinary shares of Sequans ($249 million).
  • RingCentral plans to buy specific assets from virtual events upstart Hopin.
  • Rubrik has reached an agreement to acquire Laminar, a start-up that offers a data security platform for public cloud environments and cloud-based data warehouses.
  • Silver Lake has secured an 84.29% stake in Software AG.
  • Sony Interactive Entertainment is buying audiophile gear maker Audeze.
  • SS&C Technologies Holdings has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the managed funds administration business from Iress, an Australian financial services technology company.
  • Symphony Technology Group has agreed to buy media editing software maker Avid Technology ($1.4 billion).
  • Synopsys has agreed to acquire German software provider PikeTec.
  • Toshiba has accepted an offer of $15.2 billion from TBJH, owned by private equity firm Japan Industrial Partners, in a move to privatise the company.
  • A US judge has rejected Google's bid to dismiss a $5 billion lawsuit that claimed it invaded the privacy of millions of people by secretly tracking their internet use.
  • Veritas Capital has made an offer to buy BlackBerry.
  • Verizon will be “sunsetting” BlueJeans, the video conferencing service that it had for three years, citing “the changing market landscape” as its reason.
  • Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder and CEO of Paytm, will buy a 10.3% stake from Antfin (Netherlands) Holding, a subsidiary of Ant Financial ($628 million). Sharma will now be the largest shareholder in the digital payments firm with a holding of 19.42%.
  • Wolfspeed has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its radio frequency business (Wolfspeed RF) to MACOM Technology Solutions Holdings.
  • The $100 million investment by several companies, including Zhongyuan Capital in DP Technology, an AI firm focused on scientific applications.
  • The investment by Beech Tree Private Equity in CovertSwarm, which employs ethical hackers to test organisations' ability to withstand cyber attacks.
  • The $100 million investment by Haveli Investments in Candivore, a mobile game developer.
  • The $150 million investment by an unnamed Middle Eastern country's sovereign wealth fund in Guodong Network Communication Group, a Chinese communications infrastructure and service provider.
  • The $697 million additional investment by MSCI, an index provider, Burgiss Group, a data analytics firm.
  • Phoenix Equity Partners invested in Ireland-based managed IT services provider Nostra Technologies.
  • The $100 million investment by SK Telecom in Anthropic, an AI firm.
  • The $175 million investment co-led by March Capital and Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, Sanabil Investments, in Nile, a networking start-up co-founded by former Cisco Systems executives John Chambers and Pankaj Patel.
  • The $350 million investment led by Saudi Arabia's Aljazira Capital and Korean healthcare firm Boryung in Axiom Space, as the start-up works with NASA to develop a private space station.
  • The $100 million investment led by Bain Capital Ventures in, a B2B sales intelligence and engagement platform.
  • The $280 million investment led by Founders Fund in Elon Musk's Neuralink, which is developing a brain-machine interface.
  • The $102 million investment led by Gates Frontier and Tracker Capital in Pivotal Commware, a 5G infrastructure company.
  • The $100 million investment led by General Catalyst in AI start-up Modular.
  • The $100 million investment led by Hyundai Motor Group and a Samsung investment fund, among others, in Tenstorrent, a Canadian start-up headed by chip industry veteran Jim Keller that is developing AI chips.
  • The $100 million investment led by Intact Ventures in cyber insurance start-up Resilience.
  • The $136.9 million investment led by Matrix Partners China in ECHINT, which engages in advanced IC packaging and testing.
  • The $110 million investment led by Riverwood Capital in cyber security company SpyCloud.
  • The $235 million investment led by several investors including Salesforce, Alphabet's Google and Nvidia in AI start-up Hugging Face.
  • The $155 million investment from several investors, including Google and Nvidia, in Israel-based AI start-up AI21 Labs.
  • The $300 million investment led by Thrive Capital and Sands Capital in Ramp, a developer of financial management software.
  • The $100 million investment led by Xavier Niel and Felicis in Poolside AI, which is developing an AI tool capable of writing software code.
  • The appointments of new CEOs at Amtech Systems, Aptum, Asana, BT Group, Capita, Cloudera, ControlUp, Cybercheck, dLocal, Globalstar, Mercury Systems, Pax8, PayPal, Perficient, Rakuten Mobile, Redington, RingCentral, Sangoma, Softcat, Synopsys, Vesttoo (interim), VIA Optronics, Wolverine Worldwide and Zorus.
  • The deaths of Douglas Comish, a British computing pioneer; Don Charron, an ex-chairman and CEO of Kimball Electronics; Jeff Gardner, CEO of CalAmp; and John Warnock, ex-CEO and co-founder of Adobe.
  • IPO filings from ARM (Nasdaq), Chenqi Technology (Hong Kong), Doosan Robotics (South Korea), Klaviyo (NYSE), Quetta Acquisition (USA), Waystar Technologies (USA) and VNG Corp (USA).
  • IPOs/listings from Hua Hong Semiconductor (China’s Nasdaq-like STAR market) and MEZZA (Doha).

Research results and predictions

  • According to Digitimes Research, high-end AI server shipments are forecast to reach 337 000 units in 2024, with the generative AI market reaching $109 billion by 2030, at a CAGR of 35. High-end server shipments in 2023 will total an estimated 167 000 units.
  • According to Gartner, semiconductors designed to execute AI workloads will represent a $53.4 billion revenue opportunity for the semiconductor industry in 2023, an increase of 20.9% from 2022.
  • According to Grand View Research, the global business process outsourcing market is anticipated to reach $525.2 billion by 2030 and expand at a CAGR of 9.4% from 2023 to 2030.
  • According to IDC, worldwide tablet shipments posted a decline of 29.9% year over year in Q2 2023, while Chromebook shipments declined 1.8% year over year.
  • According to IDC, worldwide customer spend for quantum computing will grow from $1.1 billion in 2022 to $7.6 billion in 2027.
  • According to IDC, PC shipments are forecast to grow 3.7% year over year in 2024, reaching 261.4 million shipments.
  • According to IDC, worldwide spending on public cloud services is forecast to reach $1.35 trillion in 2027.
  • According to IDC, worldwide smartphone shipments are forecast to decline 4.7% year over year in 2023 to 1.15 billion units, the lowest volume in a decade.

Stock market changes

  • JSE All share index: Down 4.7%
  • FTSE100: Down 3%
  • DAX: Down 3.8%
  • NYSE (Dow): Down 1.8%
  • S&P 500: Down 1%
  • Nasdaq: Down 2%
  • Nikkei225: Down 0.1%
  • Hang Seng: Down 7.7%
  • Shanghai: Down 4.4%

Final word

Fortune magazine recently published its 2023 Global 500 list. The following are some of the highlights from a technology perspective:

  • Newcomers:

Broadcom at number 462.

Salesforce at number 491.

Uber Technologies at 477.

Warner Brothers Discovery at 449.

  • Departures:

Canon, was 444.

Fujitsu, was 446.

Toshiba, was 480.

  • Highest upward movers:

Accenture at 220, was 268.

Qualcomm at 334, was 429.

TDSYNNEX at 215, was 451.

TSMC at 168, was 225.

  • Highest downward movers:

CK Hutchison at 453, was 393.

Compal Electronics at 420, was 317.

Intel at 211, was 145.

SK Hynix at 437, was 373.

Softbank at 295, was 234.

Xiaomi at 360, was 266.