Viagogo agrees to buy StubHub

The ticket marketplace for live sport, music and entertainment events has agreed to purchase eBay’s StubHub for $4.05 billion.
Read time 1min 10sec

The viagogo/StubHub deal dominated the international ICT market last week.

At home, news regarding Cell C was still in the spotlight.

Key local news of the past week

  • Good interim numbers from Etion, with revenue up 14.7% and back in the black; and PBT Group, with revenue up 14.1% and profit up 192.9%.
  • Argility Technology Group invested in Ashanti AI, an artificial intelligence (AI) solutions business.
  • Cell C has scrapped Black, its VOD streaming service.
  • Shaw Academy, an Irish online educational company, has opened a new office in Cape Town, thus choosing SA as part of its global expansion.
  • Telkom SA’s offer for Cell C has been rejected.
  • The shares of MTN’s special purpose empowerment vehicle MTN Zakhele Futhi had a strong debut on the JSE.
  • Twenty Third Century Systems, a former business unit of EOH, is accused of providing a now-dysfunctional IT system to Zimbabwean government entity the National Social Security Authority.
  • Tiyani Nghonyama, COO of Geekulcha, has been named the 2019 IT Personality of the Year by the Institute of Information Technology Professionals South Africa (IITPSA), and Sandra La Bella, Alexander Forbes Group CIO, the Visionary CIO. The awards are presented this year in partnership with ITWeb, EngineerIT and the Gordon Institute of Business Science, under the theme NE><T, in line with the IITPSA’s forward-looking focus on industry progress, youth skills development and increased future partnership efforts. In addition, Aerobotics, represented by COO Timothy Willis, was awarded the Technology Excellence Award; while Frans Kalp, CEO of Ligbron E-Learning Systems, won the Social Responsibility/Community Award. Professor Rossouw von Solms, director of the Centre for Research in Information and Cyber Security at the Nelson Mandela University School of ICT, was honoured with a Distinguished Service in ICT award, and Professor Elize Ehlers, head of the Academy of Computer Science and Software Engineering at the University of Johannesburg, received an IITPSA Fellowship award.
  • A withdrawn JSE cautionary by Telkom SA.
  • The appointments of Raymond Ndlovu as CEO of Community Investment Ventures Holdings; Videsha Proothveerajh as MD of LexisNexis South Africa; and Corrie Roodt as chairman of Stella Capital Partners.
  • The departure of Dumisani Tabata, chairman of Stella Capital Partners (stays on the board).
  • The retirement of Billy Last, MD of LexisNexis South Africa.

Key African news

  • Egypt has launched its first communication satellite into orbit.
  • Senegalese start-up Yobante Express, which has developed an innovative way of making last mile deliveries quicker and cheaper, has expanded to SA.
  • The appointment of Paulin Alazard as CEO of the TogoCom Group.
  • The departure of Atcha-Dedji Affoh, CEO of the TogoCom Group.

Key international news

  • Bharti Airtel acquired India-based start-up Quikmile, which focuses on building tech-enabled logistics platforms for that country.
  • European investor Kartesia bought Richardson, a US-based provider of sales training software.
  • SoftBank-backed InMobi Group purchased Roposo, a video content platform provider.
  • Azerbaijan's Bakcell has agreed to purchase MTS’s Ukrainian business for $734 million.
  • The EU antitrust regulators are seeking details of Google's data collection practices in a move that could signal yet more regulatory woes for the world's most popular Internet search engine.

Cell C has scrapped Black, its VOD streaming service.

  • Facebook has agreed to buy Beat Games, developer of the popular VR rhythm game Beat Saber.
  • Great Hill Partners and Spectrum Equity have agreed to acquire the assets of IBM's sales performance management business. Dubbed Varicent Software, the newly relaunched company will be led by founder Marc Altshuller and based in Canada. IBM originally purchased Varicent in 2012.
  • Kyocera has made a proposal to AVX to acquire all outstanding shares of common stock (28%) of AVX not already owned by Kyocera.
  • Palo Alto Networks has agreed to purchase Aporeto, a machine identity-based micro-segmentation company.
  • Panasonic will sell its loss-making semiconductor business to Taiwan’s Nuvoton Technology for $250 million and will also divest three Japanese chipmaking facilities of TowerJazz Panasonic Semiconductor, a joint venture with Israel's Tower Semiconductor.
  • Reliance Jio Infocomm and Bharti Airtel have submitted bids for assets of bankrupt Reliance Communications and its two units.
  • Total Webhosting Solutions has agreed to buy KPN’s Web hosting subsidiary Argeweb.
  • Viagogo, a leading worldwide ticket marketplace for live sport, music and entertainment events, has agreed to purchase eBay’s StubHub, a trusted ticket marketplace in the US, for a purchase price of $4.05 billion.
  • Xerox will now be making a hostile bid for HP.
  • SoftBank and Ant Financial Services Group made a $1 billion investment in Paytm, an Indian payments company.
  • The following patent and lawsuit activity:
  • Apple has settled allegations of US sanctions violations.
  • Excellent half-year numbers from GB Group.
  • Very good quarterly figures from Autodesk (back in the black) and Veeva Systems.
  • Good quarterly numbers from HannStar Board, Momo and VMware.
  • Good half-year figures from IMImobile (back in the black).
  • Satisfactory quarterly results from Dell (back in the black), Keysight Technologies (back in the black) and Xiaomi.
  • Satisfactory half-year numbers from Intercede Group and Iomart Group.
  • Satisfactory year-end figures from Cerillion.
  • Mediocre quarterly results from Analog Devices and Tech Data.
  • Mediocre half-year figures from D4t4 Solutions.
  • Mixed quarterly figures from Daktronics, Elbit Systems, HP, MTS Systems and Partner Communications, with revenue up but net income down; and from HPE (back in the black), with revenue down but net income up.
  • Mixed half-year figures from Codemasters, with revenue up but net income down; and from Redcentric (back in the black), with revenue down but net income up.
  • Quarterly losses from Ambarella, Box, Cellcom Israel, DouYu International, iClick Interactive Asia, Nutanix, Palo Alto Networks and QAD.
  • Half-year losses from Shearwater Group and SysGroup.
  • The appointments of Guillaume Boutin as CEO of the Proximus Group; Brian Kwon as CEO of LG Electronics; Hilary Schneider as CEO of Shutterfly; and Amur Swaminathan Lakshminarayanan as CEO of Tata Communications.
  • The departure of Jo Seong-jin, CEO of LG Electronics.
  • A planned IPO in Kuala Lumpur from U Mobile, a Malaysian mobile service provider.

Research results and predictions


  • The global installed base of active remote tank monitoring (RTM) solutions reached 2.5 million units at the end of 2018, according to Berg Insight. Growing at a CAGR of 36.3%, the active installed base is estimated to reach 11.9 million units worldwide in 2023.
  • Global sales of smartphones to end-users continued to decline in the Q319, contracting by 0.4% compared with the Q318, according to Gartner.
  • Overall PCD shipments will reach 407.7 million by the end of 2019, up 0.5% from 2018, according to IDC. However, despite this recent growth, long-term forecasts remain negative as the market will dip to 366.7 million units in 2023, with a CAGR of -2.6% from 2019-2023.
  • The worldwide smartphone market is expected to grow 1.5% year over year in 2020, with shipment volumes just over 1.4 billion, according to IDC. It expects 190 million 5G smartphones to ship in 2020, accounting for 14% of total smartphones shipped, which far exceeds the first year of 4G shipments (2010) at 1.3%.
  • Worldwide spending on augmented reality and virtual reality is forecast to be $18.8 billion in 2020, an increase of 78.5% over the $10.5 billion it expects will be spent in 2019, according to IDC. Also, worldwide spending on AR/VR products and services will continue this strong growth throughout the 2019-2023 forecast period, achieving a five-year CAGR of 77%.

Stock market changes

  • JSE All share index: Down 2.5%
  • FTSE100: Up 0.3%
  • DAX: Up 0.6%
  • NYSE (Dow): Up 0.6% (all-time high reached during the week)
  • S&P 500: Up 1% (all-time high reached during the week)
  • Nasdaq: Up 1.7% (all-time high reached during the week)
  • Nikkei225: Up 0.8%
  • Hang Seng: Down 0.9%
  • Shanghai: Down 0.5%

Look out for


  • Further developments regarding the Xerox/HP battle.
  • Dell divesting its RSA Security business.

South Africa:

  • Further developments regarding Cell C.

Final word

Fortune magazine has just released its Businessperson of the Year 2019 list. To create this annual list, it first screens for results, looking at 10 financial factors ranging from total return to shareholders to return on capital. Then it searches for the standouts, ie, the leaders who tackled audacious goals, overcame impossible odds and found creative solutions.

Included in the list are:

1: Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft

8: Ajay Banga, CEO of Mastercard

11: Daniel Schulman, CEO of PayPal

15: Julie Sweet, CEO of Accenture

16: Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba

17: Strauss Zeinick, CEO of Take Two Interactive

18 Jayshree Ullal, CEO of Arista Networks

This is my final column for 2019, although my ‘review of the year’ will appear next week. My column will resume on 13 January 2020 and will fully cover the intervening period.

A big thank you to all my readers for your support this year; I wish you well over the festive season and a great and successful 2020.

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