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Oracle, PeopleSoft saga turns up a notch

The Oracle mandate from PeopleSoft shareholders for the latter`s acquisition, the sell-off of Telcordia, and HP`s disappointing year-end figures dominated last week.

The Oracle mandate from PeopleSoft shareholders for the latter`s acquisition, the sell-off of Telcordia, and HP`s disappointing year-end figures dominated the international world of IT and telecommunications last week.

At home, the furore over the 'winner` of the Thintana disposal in Telkom SA and the flood of local ICT results took much of the local ICT headline space.

On the local front

* We saw excellent year-end figures from Trematon (no revenue figures);

* Satisfactory annual numbers from Reunert (revenue up a little but earnings up over 60%) and Spescom (revenue static but profit more than double);

* A full-year loss from Dimension Data (but revenue up nearly 20%);

* Good interim figures from MTN (revenue up but profit well up);

* Satisfactory interim numbers from Telkom SA (revenue up a little but net profit up over 66%) and Vodacom (revenue up but profit only slightly up);

* Mediocre interim figures from Real Africa Holdings (no revenue figures but profit well down) and Synergy (revenue and profit both down); and

* The appointment of Joe Madungandaba as MD of Jasco.

Other local news included:

The intervention by the government`s Public Investment Commissioners re the Thintana/Telkom share disposal.

On the African scene, Vivendi Universal is to up its stake in Maroc Telecom from 35% to 51% at a price of EUR1.1 billion.

On the international front

* Oracle received more than 60% commitment from PeopleSoft shareholders for the proposed take-over of the latter;

* Patient Infosystems is to spin-off its subsidiary, American Caresource Holdings;

* The sell-off of Telcordia by SAIC (mentioned earlier this month with respect to the litigation with Telkom SA); and

* Bryant Technology exited the IT industry, following a buy-out of the company by its black staff through a company called Zamori 243.

International strategic partnerships were announced between Benchmark Technology Group and Green-Tech Assets and between Mercury Computer Systems and Nvidia.

This year`s World`s Most Respected Companies listing has been published, with Microsoft retaining the number two slot behind GE.

Paul Booth, MD, Global Research Partners

Additionally, look out for a potential EUR11 billion acquisition by a major consortium of Grupo Auna, the Spanish telecoms company, in what could be Europe`s largest-ever leveraged buy-out; Telefonica`s possible acquisition of MMO2; LogicaCMG`s possible take-over of Portugal`s EDP; and the rumoured take-over of UK-based services group, ITNet, by one of the major international services companies such as Capita Group, CSC or HP.

Other international news included:

* The appointments of Elias Antuoun as president and CEO of Genesis Microchip, Sir Peter Gershon as chairman of Symbian, David Hagan as president and CEO of Boingo Wireless, Philip Kaplan as president of VitalStream Holdings, Jack Michaels as CEO of Snap-on, Dough Neugold as CEO of ATMI, Dr CS Park as CEO of Maxtor, Michael Silverman as chairman of Spescom Software, Dan Smith as president and COO of Virtusa, Michael Wingert as president and COO of Maxtor, and Brian Zanghi as CEO and president of Pragmatech Software;

* The resignations of Dale Elliot as president and CEO of Snap-on, Sky Dayton as president and CEO of Boingo Wireless (stays on as chairman), Timothy Jenson as president and CEO of Merisel, Victor Koo as president and CEO of Sohu.com, John Murray as chairman and CEO of Plato Learning, Paul Summers as co-founder and CEO of VitalStream Holdings, and Paul Tufano as president and CEO of Maxtor; and

* Job loss announcements from Applied Micro Circuits, Credence, KPN, Siemens and Tower Semiconductor,

Financial results

Excellent* figures from Blue Coat Systems (back in the black), Camtek, Cimetrix (back in the black), Dataram (back in the black), eNucleus (back in the black), Linktone and Spescom Software (back in the black); and very good* numbers from Applied Materials, Astea International (back in the black), Autodesk, Celltalk Group, CTI Group (back in the black), Ditech Comms, Innovative Solutions and Support, Marvell Technology Group, Niku, VimpelCom and Zi (back in the black).

Good figures* were recorded by AltiGen Comms (back in the black), Amadeus, Ansoft (back in the black), CAM Commerce Solutions, Claxson Interactive Group, Concerto Software, DND Technologies (back in the black), Lenova Group, Merrimac (back in the black), Micromuse, MMO2, MTS Systems, nCipher (back in the black), Network Appliance and Symbian.

Satisfactory* figures were posted by Alliance Atlantic Comms (but back in the black), Arinso International, Elbit Systems, Global Axcess, HP, Infodata Systems, Multimedia Games, Novell (back in the black), Specialist Computer Holdings, Steria SCA and Telkom Austria.

Mediocre* returns came from Bonso Electronics, Comtex (back in the black), Daktronics, DataWave Systems, Datec Group, Docucorp, ePlus, IEC Electronics, Internet America, Micronetics, PhotoWorks, QAD, Salesforce.com, Serena Software, T-Systems, Teltronics, Thus Group, Virgin Mobile, Vtech Holdings and Warwick Valley Telephone; while very poor results* came from DynTek (but back in the black), NetWolves (but back in the black) and Sentry Technology.

Losses* came from ACT Teleconferencing, AESP, AFP Imaging, Agile Software, Arel Comms & Software, Comdial, Convera, CorVu, Creo, DataLogic International, Davel Comms, e.Digital, EDS, Elbit Vision Systems, Elcom International, eLinear, enherent, Firstwave Technologies, Fischer Imaging, GB Group, Genesys Conferencing, Global Crossing, GlobeTel Comms, Infocrossing, Intelli-Check, Integrated Business Systems and Services, Intellisync, Interland, Intuit, iSECUREtrac, JMAR Technologies, Leap Wireless International, McData, MDI, Media Services Group, Mosaid Technologies, MSX International, MTI Technology, MTM Technologies, NCT Group, NeoMagic, Neon Systems, Network-1 Security Solutions, New Horizons Worldwide, Newport International Group, Notify Technology, Novo Networks, nStor Technologies, Opsware, Orbimage, Phone1Globalwide, RCN, SmartServ, Soitec, Speedus, Super Vision, Sycamore Networks, Teknowledge, Tetra Tech, TippingPoint, Tiscali, Touchstone Group, viaLink and Vodafone.

Other financial news included analyst upgrades for Asyst Technologies, Bei Technologies, Comcast, Instinet Group, Maximus, National Semiconductor, NetEase, Open Text, Portal Software, Red Hat, RF Micro Devices, Sun Microsystems, Tessera Technologies, TransAct Technologies, Xilinx and Zebra Technologies; analyst downgrades for Activision, Agile Software, Applied Materials, ATI Technologies, Brocade Comms, Cabot Microelectronics, Creo, Crown Castle International, CSC, Daktronics, EDS, F5 Networks, Intel, Interland, Iron Mountain, Juniper Networks, Marvell Technology Group, Micromuse, Micron Technology, Novell, Pixar, RSA Security, Salesforce.com, SAP, ScanSoft, SigmaTel, Teradyne, Ulticom, UTStarcom and Volterra Semiconductor; and private funding obtained for 3am Labs, Airwide Solutions, BroadLogic Network Technologies, Fuego and PowerGenix.

There were share buy-back announcements from Captaris, ePlus, GCI, SonicWALL and Vodafone; a shareholders rights plan from Digimarc; a positive results/profit warning from Amadeus; negative results/profit warnings (often veiled) from Caminus, Citrix Systems, Dot Hill Systems, Netflix and Philips Electronics; proposed IPOs from Cesky Telecom, Fusion Telecomms International, a VOIP provider, MicroEmissive Displays and Syniverse Holdings; very good IPOs from InPhonic, an online seller of wireless services and devices, and PortalPlayer; and good IPOs from China Netcom, chipmaker Elpida, Iowa Telecom and Monolithic Power Systems.

Stock movements

Locally

DataPro (+15.4%)
Digicore (+15.1%)
Dimension Data (+10.8%)
Elexir (-50%)
Infowave (-12.5%)
Jasco (+9.4%)
Labat Africa (-17.9%)
Paracon (+11.1%)
Vesta (-30%)
Zaptronix (-33.3%)

Internationally

Celltalk Group (+122%)
Conexant Comms (+26.2%)
FiberMark (-52%)
Firstwave Technologies (-33.3%)
Intelidata Technologies (+48.6%)
Maisha (+60%)
MapInfo (+26.9%)
Network Computing Devices (-40%)
Silicon Graphics (+30.7%)
WJ Comms (+33.3%)

In terms of indices, the Nasdaq was down 0.7% and the JSE up 1% for the week.

Final word

This year`s World`s Most Respected Companies listing has been published, with Microsoft retaining the number two slot behind GE. Other technology-oriented names include IBM at four (same as last year), Dell at six (was number seven) and new entrants Sony Ericsson at 21 and Canon at 25. Also announced was the World`s Most Respected Business Leaders with Bill Gates staying at number one. Michael Dell is at five (was sixth), Carly Fiorina at eight (was ninth), Steve Jobs at nine (was 13th) and new entrant Fujio Mitaral of Canon at 10.

* NB

Guidelines for the categorisation of results are as follows and are always in comparison with the equivalent period for the previous year; pro forma numbers are ignored (the terminology may vary slightly from country to country).

* Excellent: Both revenue and net income growth in excess of 50%.
* Very good: Both revenue and net income growth in excess of 25%.
* Good: Both revenue and net income growth in excess of 10%.
* Satisfactory: Revenue is within 10% of previous year and net income is up.
* Mediocre: Either revenue and/or net income is down.
* Very poor: Net income is less than 1% of revenue.
* Loss: A loss has been recorded.

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