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Tech industry aflutter as Elon Musk bags Twitter

The SA-born Elon Musk, who is the richest man in the world and CEO of Tesla, struck a deal to buy Twitter for $44 billion.
Paul Booth
By Paul Booth
Johannesburg, 03 May 2022

The global technology industry was dominated last month by Elon Musk’s $44 billion deal to buy Twitter, and multiple deals by Accenture. 

Key local news

  • Seacom acquired EOH’s Network Solutions and Hymax businesses (R144.9 million).
  • ADP has bought Sage South Africa’s payroll outsourcing business.
  • DiDi Chuxing confirms it will close shop in SA.
  • iSON Xperiences has taken a majority control of CSS South Africa.
  • RCS, the consumer finance arm of French banking group BNP Paribas, has acquired South African online credit provider Mobicred.
  • The University of Johannesburg’s vice-chancellor and principal professor Tshilidzi Marwala is the winner of the ICT sector’s coveted IT Personality of the Year Award.
  • The appointments of new CEOs at Altron (acting) and MetroFibre Networkx.

Key African news

  • Alphabet's Google is investing in its first Africa product development centre in Nairobi.
  • The appointments of new CEOs/MDs at Paratus and Wipro.

Key international news

  • Accenture acquired AFD.TECH, an independent network services company specialising in network engineering, operations and services, and Ergo, a data-centred business located in Argentina that helps companies create a culture of data-driven decision-making using big data, analytics and artificial intelligence. The company also concluded agreements to buy Avieco, a leading UK sustainability consultancy, and Greenfish, an independent engineering and advisory company specialising in sustainability consultancy services. The company, through Accenture Ventures, invested in Good Chemistry Company, a company that uses quantum chemistry, machine learning and quantum computing to accelerate new materials design; Strivr, a leading provider of virtual reality-based immersive learning and training solutions for enterprises; and Titan Space Technologies, a provider of an orbital compute platform.
  • Amazon India bought Glowroad, a women-focused social commerce start-up.
  • Bentley Systems acquired ADINA R & D, a leading developer of finite element analysis software applications.

Worldwide IT spending is projected to total $4.4 trillion in 2022.

  • Content+Cloud bought Azzure IT, a Microsoft Dynamics partner.
  • CTI Technology purchased MacHero, an Apple-focused IT services provider.
  • Datapath acquired MobileTek Services, an MSP focused solely on the K-12 education market.
  • Gupshup bought Active.Ai, a conversational AI platform used by banks and fintech firms; and AskSid, a conversational AI provider to top e-commerce and retail companies around the world.
  • Help/Systems purchased Terranova Security, a leader in global phishing simulation and security awareness training.
  • Hesa, a city-based rural technology start-up, acquired GullyBuy, a digital market-tech platform.
  • Main Capital Partners bought Netherlands-based BCS, a human resource management and payroll software provider, and Pro4all, a construction software specialist.
  • Maranatha Technologies purchased the assets of Avatar Computer Solutions, an MSP pioneer.
  • Motorola Solutions acquired Calipsa, a London-based video-AI start-up.
  • Nexa Equity bought Choice, a provider of a global payments platform.
  • ON24 purchased VIBBIO, a cloud video software company that enables businesses to create and edit professional videos with no experience needed.
  • OpenWeb acquired Adyoulike, a digital advertising company ($100 million).
  • OVHcloud bought ForePaaS, a unified platform specialising in data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence projects for businesses.
  • Peak Technologies purchased Graphic Label, a provider of automatic identification and data capture consumables, hardware, software and related installation and on-site services.
  • Pearl Street Equity acquired Webonise, a tech product development and services specialist that offers digital tools related to cyber security, e-learning, gaming, etc.
  • India-based Pine Labs bought a majority stake in Mosambee, a payments solution provider.
  • UK-based Prime Networks purchased TNSC, a managed services peer.
  • Renovus Capital Partners acquired ProfitOptics, a technology services company.
  • Roblox bought Hamul, a start-up that adds social elements to games.
  • Sogelink, a French construction software provider, purchased Locatiqs, which provides software and services for the geographic information systems and field service management markets.
  • Sonos acquired Mayht Holding, a Netherlands-based company that has invented a revolutionary approach to audio transducers.
  • Sophos bought UK-based SOC.OS, a spinout of BAE Systems Digital Intelligence, which provides a cloud-based security alert investigation and triage automation solution.
  • SysGroup, a UK-based MSP, purchased UK-based Orchard Computers, a Silver-level Microsoft partner as well as an HP and Dell partner.
  • Twitter acquired OpenBack, an Ireland-based push notification company.
  • Uniphore, a conversational automation platform, bought Colabo, an AI-powered knowledge automation solution.
  • Versapay, creator of a collaborative accounts receivable network, purchased DadeSystems, a provider of accounts receivable automation solutions.
  • Wipro acquired Convergence Acceleration Solutions, a consulting and programme management company that specialises in driving large-scale business and technology transformation for Fortune 100 communications service providers; and concluded an agreement to acquire Rizing Intermediate Holdings, a global SAP consulting firm ($540 million).
  • Advanced Micro Devices will acquire Pensando, a cloud start-up ($1.9 billion).
  • Alphabet-owned robotics subsidiary Intrinsic is acquiring the business of Vicarious, a robotics company and a robots as a service leader.
  • ANSYS has inked an agreement to acquire OnScale, a cloud simulation software provider.
  • A consortium led by AustralianSuper and ATN have won an auction to purchase Macquarie’s Axicom, Australia’s largest independent mobile tower operator ($2.68 billion).
  • Aviat Networks has agreed to acquire Redline Communications Group, a leading provider in mission-critical data infrastructure.
  • Brookfield Business Partners is buying CDK Global, taking private the last major publicly traded provider of software to auto dealers and manufacturers ($8.3 billion).
  • CGI has entered into an agreement for the acquisition, through its subsidiary CGI France SAS, of all the shares of Harwell Management Holding and its subsidiaries. Harwell Management is a management consulting firm specialising in the financial services industry and operating mainly within the French market.
  • Checkr has agreed to buy Inflection, a provider of background checks ($400 million).
  • Clearlake Capital and TA Associates have agreed to acquire Kofax, a provider of intelligent automation software.
  • Cyient will buy Singapore-based Grit Consulting, which has consulting expertise in asset-intensive industries.
  • Datto, a software maker, will be taken private by Kaseya in a deal funded by a consortium led by Insight Partners ($6.2 billion).
  • Deutsche Telekom has bought additional shares in T-Mobile US from Softbank for $2.4 billion, bringing its stake to 48.4%.
  • Digicel plans to wind down operations in Panama following that government's approval of a merger between competitors Cable & Wireless Panama and Claro.
  • Entravision has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire a strategic stake in Jack of Digital, a digital marketing services company that serves as the exclusive advertising sales partner of TikTok in Pakistan.
  • Elon Musk has clinched a deal to acquire Twitter for $44 billion.
  • EY intends to buy Client Servers, a domestic enterprise technology firm.
  • Globant has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase GeneXus, a company that developed a low-code platform used in several industries.
  • International Game Technology has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire iSoftBet, a leading i-gaming content provider and third-party game aggregator.
  • KKR is buying Barracuda Networks, an e-mail security provider, from Thoma Bravo ($4 billion).
  • NetApp has signed a definitive agreement to purchase Instaclustr, a platform provider of fully managed open source database, pipeline and workflow applications delivered as a service.
  • The Partners Group will acquire Ireland-based Version 1, an IT services and solutions provider.
  • PLDT units Smart Communications and Digitel Mobile Philippines have sold 5 907 telecoms towers to Axiata Group’s edotco Group and EdgePoint, which is backed by the DigitalBridge Group.
  • Providence Equity Partners has agreed to buy Airties, a Turkish provider of cloud-based managed WiFi solutions.
  • PTC has signed a definitive agreement to purchase Intland Software, which develops and markets the Codebeamer Application Lifecycle Management family of software products ($280 million).
  • The Public Investment Fund, a Saudi sovereign fund, and Saudi Telecom Co have inked a joint venture deal to create an IOT focused company.
  • Puppet, a DevOps pioneer, is being acquired by Perforce Software, an infrastructure automation software company known for its popular developer tools such as Helix.
  • Sensata Technologies has agreed to acquire Dynapower Company, a provider of energy storage and power conversion systems.
  • Synopsys has signed a definitive agreement to acquire WhiteHat Security, a provider of application security software as a service ($330 million).
  • Tenable has signed an agreement to acquire Bit Discovery, a leader in external attack surface management.
  • The SysGroup has struck a deal to acquire Truststream Security Solutions, a provider of security transformation services.
  • Thoma Bravo will purchase SailPoint Technologies, a cyber security firm ($6.12 billion).
  • TIM and Ardian have reached an agreement for the acquisition by a consortium led by the latter of an additional 41% stake in the jointly owned holding company Daphne 3, which in turn holds a 30.2% stake in Infrastrutture Wireless Italiane. Once the transaction is completed, the Ardian consortium will hold a 90% stake in Daphne 3.
  • Tozny and OneIDLab, two cyber security firms, will merge to offer customers a wider variety of security products on one platform.
  • Software-focused investment firm Turn/River Capital has agreed to buy Tufin Software Technologies ($570 million).
  • Uniti Group, a telecoms firm, has agreed to be taken over by a unit of Canada's Brookfield Asset Management ($2.7 billion).
  • Vector Capital has agreed to acquire an ownership stake in WatchGuard Technologies, a provider of network security and intelligence, endpoint protection, multi-factor authentication and secure WiFi.
  • WISeKey is selling its 51% stake in arago back to a German consortium of investors led by arago’s founder through his investment company, OGARA.
  • Taiwan-based WT Microelectronics has announced plans to take over Singapore-based IC distributor Excelpoint Technology via its wholly-owned subsidiary WT Semiconductor ($172 million).
  • Abry Partners has invested in Inoapps, a UK-based cloud specialist.
  • AJP Holding Company has invested in Sonim Technologies, a US provider of ultra-rugged mobile devices, accessories and solutions designed specifically for task workers physically engaged in their work environments, thus upping its stake to 52%.
  • The £100 million investment by Aviva Investors in ITS Technology Group, a wholesale full fibre provider.
  • The $4.2 billion (11.4%) investment by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway in HP.
  • The $690 million investment by Insight Partners, Smash Capital and Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC in Singapore-based Coda Payments.
  • The investment by Insight Partners and Partners Group in Precisely, a provider of data integration, location intelligence, data governance and other related services to over 12 000 enterprise customers in more than 100 countries.
  • NexPhase Capital has invested in Aztec Software, an educational software company focused on the adult education and workforce training and certification markets.
  • The $100 million investment by Novator Ventures, Burda Principal Investments and General Catalyst in Nord Security, the company behind NordVPN.
  • The $110 million investment by Accel, Bain Capital, Ballistic Ventures and others in Veza, the provider of a data security platform.
  • The investment by i-Sight in Resurgens Technology Partners, a provider of case management software for HR, compliance and corporate security teams.
  • The $2 billion investment by Sony Group and the family-owned holding company behind the Lego Group in Epic Games.
  • The $215 million investment by Vista Equity Partners in Critical Start, which helps organisations identify, assess and respond to cyber threats in real-time while analysing threat data to inform future responses.
  • The additional investment by Thoma Bravo in Imprivata, a digital identity company.
  • The $412 million investment led by Advent International and General Catalyst in SonarSource, a coding platform for developers.
  • The $384 million investment led by DigitalBridge Investment Management in Netomnia, a provider of full fibre broadband infrastructure.
  • The $100 million investment led by General Atlantic in ThreatLocker, a cyber security software superstar.
  • The $240 million investment led by GIC in Grafana Labs, the fast-growing developer of the open source Grafana data observability, visualisation and dashboard software.
  • The $90 million investment led by Menlo Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners and IVP in Obsidian Security, a developer of a cyber security platform for SaaS applications.
  • The $230 million investment led by Norwest Venture Partners in Harness, the creator of a software delivery platform that provides developers with operations automation, security scanning, etc.
  • The $125 million investment led by SoftBank's Vision Fund 2 in Observe.AI, the provider of an intelligent workforce platform for contact centres.
  • The $185 million investment led by Softbank in Pax8, whose marketplace is empowering SMEs with technology solutions they would otherwise not have access to while simultaneously granting software vendors distribution capabilities to a hard-to-reach customer segment.
  • The appointments of new CEOs at Air IT, American Tower Europe, Cognite, Comau, CWT,, Litera, PeopleFun, Qumu, Sonata Software, UiPath and Yandex (acting).
  • IPO filings from Ampere Computing (USA), Deezer (Paris) and Kaynes Technology India (India).
  • IPOs/listings from Ostin Technology (Nasdaq), Warner Bros Discovery (Nasdaq) and Zhihu (Hong Kong).

Research results and predictions

  • According to BMIT, SA’s spending on hardware, software and IT services rebounded significantly in 2021 from the dismal spending in 2020, with overall IT revenue growth at 6.5%. Putting the IT and telecoms categories together, overall ICT revenue growth was 3.7%, below the global average.
  • According to Gartner, worldwide IT spending is projected to total $4.4 trillion in 2022, an increase of 4% from 2021.
  • According to Gartner, global semiconductor revenue is projected to total $676 billion in 2022, an increase of 13.6% from 2021.
  • According to IDC, global shipments of traditional PCs, including desktops, notebooks and workstations, declined 5.1% in 1Q22.

Stock market changes

  • JSE All share index: Down 4.6%
  • FTSE100: Up 0.1%
  • DAX: Down 2.4%
  • NYSE (Dow): Down 5.3%
  • S&P 500: Down 9.1%
  • Nasdaq: Down 13.5%
  • Nikkei225: Down 3%
  • Hang Seng: Down 4.3%
  • Shanghai: Down 7.2%

Final word

Fortune magazine has just published its 2022 list of ‘Best companies to work for’. Included in the top 10 are:

  • 1: Cisco
  • 4: Salesforce
  • 5: Nvidia