Meta hit by record €1.2bn fine

The company has been given five months to stop transferring users’ data to the US.
Paul Booth
By Paul Booth
Johannesburg, 29 May 2023
Paul Booth
Paul Booth

The European Union's (EU's) €1.2 billion fine on Facebook dominated the technology market last month.

Key local news

  • Dye & Durham, one of the world's largest providers of cloud-based legal practice management software, acquired GhostPractice, the largest provider of legal practice management software in South Africa and several law firms in Canada.
  • Iziko2.0, a technology investment firm with supporting funding from RMB Ventures, has acquired a minority share in Port443, a cyber security start-up.
  • Align Technology, a global medical device company that designs, manufactures and sells the Invisalign system of clear aligners, iTero intraoral scanners and exocad CAD/CAM software for digital orthodontics and restorative dentistry, has launched direct operations in South Africa.
  • Afrihost and CipherWave Networks, the holding company for the CipherWave Group of Companies, which includes CipherWave Business and Home-Connect, have concluded a deal where Afrihost will acquire a majority stake in Home-Connect.
  • Jasco has been delisted from the JSE.
  • e4, a South African fintech specialist, has been acquired by a consortium of private equity investors, led by an independent private equity fund manager, Infinite Partners.
  • MTN GlobalConnect is changing its name to Bayobab.
  • The MTN Group plans to build a R6 billion terrestrial fibre cable to connect 10 countries, as telecommunications companies push to expand service to Africa’s growing population.
  • TELUS International, a digital customer experience innovator that designs, builds and delivers next-generation solutions, including artificial intelligence (AI) and content moderation, for global and disruptive brands, has established operations in South Africa and Morocco.
  • Microsoft South Africa MD Lillian Barnard has been named president of Microsoft Africa, and will be succeeded by Kalane Rampai.

  • The death of Barry Dwolatzky, a pioneering figure in the ICT sector.

Key African news

  • Egypt has sold a 9.5% ($121.6 million) stake in state-controlled Telecom Egypt.
  • The appointment of a new president at Microsoft Africa.

Key international news

  • Accordion, a private equity-focused financial and technology consulting firm, acquired India-based Merilytics, a provider of analytics, data management and business intelligence reporting services.
  • bought EBS, a specialist in the design and manufacturing of smart communicators that are widely deployed in international markets.
  • Cadence Design Systems purchased UK-based Pulsic, a provider of semiconductor design tools.

The MTN Group plans to build a R6 billion terrestrial fibre cable.

  • Cority acquired Greenstone, a UK-based software company with a suite of sustainability solutions for enterprises and asset managers.
  • DartPoints bought Venyu, a company that builds and hosts weather-tested, secure data centres.
  • Deloitte purchased Optimal Design, a product engineering services firm focused on developing smart connected and IOT devices.
  • Endava acquired Mudbath, an Australian-based technology firm specialising in strategy, design and engineering services.
  • Entravision bought Spain-based BCNMonetize, a global mobile app marketing solutions company.
  • ePlus purchased certain assets of the Network Solutions Group, a business unit of CCI Systems, a provider of networking services and solutions focused on the broadband service provider end-market.
  • IBM acquired Polar Security, a two-year-old start-up that specialises in securing data within cloud environments and SaaS applications.
  • Infineon Technologies bought Sweden-based start-up Imagimob, a platform provider for machine learning solutions for edge devices.
  • New Mountain Capital purchased Apixio, a healthtech AI software business ($280 million).
  • OneMagnify acquired RXA, a data analytics and artificial intelligence company.
  • PwC has boosted its SAP practice with its recent acquisition of Avoras, a SAP Gold partner.
  • Silver Lake has acquired human resources services provider ProService from FFL Partners.
  • Snowflake bought Neeva, a developer of AI-driven search technology.
  • Sourcepass purchased Proxios, a cyber security solution provider.
  • Veriforce, provider of supply chain risk and compliance management solutions, acquired Global Worker Pass, an innovative software solution designed to streamline the process of verifying workers’ qualifications and certifications in real-time.
  • Yanolja Cloud, a global provider of AI-based SaaS solutions for the hospitality and leisure industries, bought Go Global Travel, a B2B travel technology company.
  • Canada's Absolute Software has agreed to be taken private by Crosspoint Capital Partners ($657 million).
  • Accenture has agreed to acquire Objectivity, a digital engineering firm specialising in cloud and platform development services that help clients accelerate their transformation journey for rapid innovation; and invested in SpiderOak, a leader in zero trust cyber security and resiliency solutions for next-generation space systems.
  • Amdocs has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the service assurance business of TEOCO.
  • Ansys has entered into a definitive agreement to buy Diakopto, a provider of differentiated EDA solutions to accelerate integrated circuit development.
  • Australia's Aristocrat Leisure will purchase Israel-based online gaming solutions provider NeoGames SA ($1 billion).
  • Avaya Holdings has successfully completed its financial restructuring and emerged from Chapter 11.
  • Aviat Networks has entered into a definitive agreement with NEC for the sale of its Wireless Transport Business.
  • Bell has entered into an agreement to acquire FX Innovation, a Canada-based provider of cloud-focused managed and professional services and workflow automation solutions for business clients.
  • Bharti Airtel has signed a binding agreement to merge its Sri Lankan unit into market leader Dialog Axiata.
  • Databricks, a data lakehouse platform developer, is acquiring Okera, a developer of secure data governance and access control software.
  • Datto’s founder Austin McChord and former Datto chief digital officer Carlson Choi have launched Cork, a cyber warranty company that takes the complexity out of cyber insurance by automatically scanning critical infrastructure to reduce risk and offer near-instant financial coverage.
  • DuPont de Nemours will buy specialty medical devices and components maker Spectrum Plastics Group ($1.75 billion).
  • eBay has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Certilogo, whose platform uses digital technology to empower brands and designers to manage the life cycle of their garments, while providing consumers a seamless way to confirm authenticity, access reliable information about branded items and easily activate circular services.
  • eMagin, a leader in the development, design and manufacture of Active-Matrix OLED microdisplays for high-resolution, AR/VR and other near-eye imaging products, has entered into a definitive merger agreement with Samsung Display.
  • Enghouse Systems has entered into an asset purchase agreement with Lifesize, a leading global provider of video conferencing and omnichannel contact centre solutions.
  • Entegris has entered into a definitive agreement for Fujifilm to acquire Entegris’s Electronic Chemicals business for $700 million.
  • EQT Infrastructure will acquire a 60% stake in a newly created company, which will own and operate the Italian telecoms provider Wind Tre's mobile and fixed network.
  • GlobalWafers has announced plans to buy Crystalwise Technology, a producer of silicon wafer and other crystal material wafers.
  • Globant, a digitally native technology services company, has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase France-based Pentalog, a digital transformation company that creates high-quality technology solutions and products for digitally native organisations in key industries such as finance, sports, gaming, travel and education.
  • HPE has entered into an agreement to sell its 49% stake in its H3C Chinese enterprise IT joint venture with Unisplendour to Unisplendour International Technology, a subsidiary of Unisplendour ($3.5 billion).
  • Insignia Systems has entered into an agreement to sell its in-store marketing business to an affiliate of Park Printing, a commercial printing and packaging company.
  • KKR has signed a definitive agreement to acquire CoolIT Systems, provider of scalable liquid cooling solutions for demanding computing environments.
  • KPMG is to spin-out Cranium, an AI security software firm focused on helping clients protect their AI systems and adhere to government regulations.
  • Meta has been hit with a record €1.2 billion fine by its lead privacy regulator in the European Union for its handling of user information, and has been given five months to stop transferring users’ data to the US.
  • Meta Platforms has hired an Oslo-based team that until late last year was building AI networking technology at UK-based Graphcore.
  • MSP Corporation, a company that has acquired 10 MSPs that remain independently run while sharing common back-office systems, has itself been acquired by two private equity firms – Canada-based Alfar Capital Management and Westmount and Walter Capital Partners, which at the same time have acquired Canada-based Groupe Access along with two other smaller MSPs and rolled them into MSP Corporation.
  • Plastiq, a B2B payments company, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
  • QualTek Services, a telecommunications and power contractor, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
  • Qualcomm will buy Israel's Autotalks, which makes chips used in technology aimed at preventing vehicle crashes.
  • Qlik has closed its acquisition of Talend.
  • ServiceNow has signed an agreement to acquire AI-powered platform G2K to transform retail and other industries.
  • Shopify has divested the logistics arm it built over the past few years, in a reversal of its strategy of aggressively investing in fulfilment networks, and has sold its logistics unit, including Deliverr, a company it acquired for $2.1 billion less than a year ago, to freight forwarder Flexport.
  • Shutterstock will purchase Giphy, an animated images platform, from Meta Platforms, after the Facebook owner had agreed to divest the company on competition concerns.
  • Stratasys will merge with its peer, Desktop Metal ($1.8 billion).
  • VMware must pay $84.5 million for infringing two patents belonging to rival software company Densify.
  • WestView Capital Partners has agreed to sell Alpha II to TA Associates and reinvest in the company for a minority stake. Alpha II provides revenue cycle management software to the healthcare industry.
  • WiSA Technologies, a developer of spatial, wireless sound technology for smart devices and next-generation home entertainment systems, has signed a non-binding letter of intent to acquire Comhear, a developer of AI-enabled adaptive audio technology.
  • Wireless Telecom Group has entered into a definitive merger agreement to be acquired by Maury Microwave, which designs and manufactures RF measurement and interconnect solutions that enable the world's best wireless communication technologies and networks to get better, faster and stronger.
  • The investment by the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority in Aquiline Capital-backed Fullsteam, a business management software provider.
  • The investment by Centerbridge Partners in Netwrix, a cyber security company.
  • The $100 million investment by Macquarie Capital in India-based network as a service (NaaS) provider CloudExtel.
  • The $100 million investment by General Atlantic in Walmart-owned Indian payments firm PhonePe.
  • The investment by Microsoft in UK-based, a company that develops tools to automate app design and coding.
  • The €600 million investment by Silver Lake in TeamSystem, an Italian cloud software maker.
  • The $125 million investment by Vista Credit Partners in Fivetran, a data movement start-up.
  • The investment by Vista Equity Partners in Resilinc, a supply chain mapping, disruption sensing and resiliency analytics company.
  • The investment by Zoom Video Communications in Anthropic, an AI start-up.
  • The investment led by Accenture, through Accenture Ventures, in Stardog, an enterprise knowledge graph platform enabling organisations to do more with, and achieve greater value from, their data in this age of generative AI.
  • The investment led by Intel Capital and Goldman Sachs Asset Management in Impact Nano, a start-up that makes specialty chemicals for the semiconductor industry and others.
  • The $250 million investment led by Qatar Investment Authority in UK-based, an AI-powered composable software company.
  • The $100 million investment led by Siris Capital in Mavenir, a network software provider.
  • The $450 million investment led by Spark Capital in Anthropic, an AI start-up backed by Google parent Alphabet.
  • The $80 million investment led by Warburg Pincus and Northstar Group in Singapore-based Advance Intelligence Group.
  • The appointments of new CEOs at 4me, Coupa Software (interim), Faro Technologies (interim), Global Payments, Jabil, Jamf,, Leidos, One Stop Systems, SAIC, Solidigm (co-CEOs), Sumo Logic, Twitter, WANdisco (Interim) and Zone & Co.
  • The death of Zohar Zisapel, co-founder of Radcom.
  • IPO filings from ARM Holdings (Nasdaq), Hua Hong Semiconductor (Shanghai) and Klaviyo (USA).

Research results and predictions

  • According to BMIT’s latest South Africa ICT Market Sizing and Overview Report, revenue in the ICT sector grew a healthy 7.3% in 2022, with most of this growth coming from IT software and services and especially from public cloud services, which has seen a revenue increase of almost 40% per year for two years running.
  • According to Gartner, worldwide government IT spending is forecast to total $589.8 billion in 2023, an increase of 7.6% from 2022.
  • According to IDC, worldwide tablet shipments posted a decline of 19.1% year-on-year in 1Q23, totalling 30.7 million units, comparable to pre-pandemic levels.
  • According to IDC, the MEA personal computing device market, which is made up of desktops, notebooks, workstations and tablets, experienced a significant year-on-year decline of 13% during Q123, with shipments across the region totalling 5.2 million units.

Stock market changes

  • JSE All share index: Down 2.1%
  • FTSE100: Down 3.1%
  • DAX: Up 0.4% (all-time high recorded during this period)
  • NYSE (Dow): Down 2.9%
  • S&P 500: Down 0.9%
  • Nasdaq: Up 6.1%
  • Nikkei225: Up 7.1%
  • Hang Seng: Down 5.8%
  • Shanghai: Down 3.3%

Final word

Look out for several other EU fines for the ‘big tech’ companies during the coming weeks, as there are several coming to a head. There is also a rumour that Apple may bid for Disney.