IBM to split itself in two

The company will list its IT infrastructure services unit as a separate company with a new name, by the end of 2021.
Read time 9min 50sec

IBM’s split announcement and several multibillion-dollar deals in the semiconductor sector dominated the technology market last month as IPOs and acquisition deals continue unabated.

South African highlights

  • Communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams announced government is pressing ahead with a plan to merge state-owned enterprises Broadband Infraco and Sentech to form a new infrastructure company.
  • Actis has agreed to buy a controlling stake in Octotel, a fibre broadband network operator.
  • Altron Document Solutions, training and contact centre solutions provider Altron People Solutions, and Altron Arrow, a distributor of electronics components, are up for sale.
  • Altron is planning to list its Bytes Technology Group on the LSE and JSE.
  • Datatec has shelved a planned listing of its subsidiary Logicalis in Latin America.
  • Gijima has acquired its former rival T-Systems South Africa.
  • French broadcaster Groupe Canal+ SA has invested in MultiChoice.
  • SixThirty has made a multimillion-rand investment in Click2Sure, an insurtech company.
  • The announcement of new CEOs at Liquid Telecom SA and MultiChoice.
  • The death of Malcolm Siegel, co-founder and director of Routed, a South African neutral cloud infrastructure provider.

African highlights

  • Co-creation Hub acquired Kenyan educational platform eLimu.
  • Mark Taylor, former CEO of Nashua, has been appointed as CEO of Ricoh Emerging Markets.
  • Lesotho has written to Vodacom Group’s subsidiary telling it that its “unified licence” to operate has been revoked; although the latter has secured an interim order interdicting the Lesotho Communications Authority from enforcing a fine on the company and from revoking its licence.
  • Stripe is buying Paystack, a Nigerian start-up that provides a quick way to integrate payments services into an online or offline transaction by way of an API.
  • The announcement of new CEOs at Axis Communications MEA, MTN Nigeria and Sophos EMEA.

International highlights

  • Accenture has acquired Spain-based Enimbos, a provider of cloud migration and related services; and New Zealand-based Zag, a SAP and cloud solutions technology firm. It has also agreed to acquire Avenai, a Canada-based provider of consulting and technology services; and Myrtle Consulting Group, an industrial operations consulting firm.
  • Advanced Micro Devices will buy Xilinx in a $35 billion deal.
  • Alliance Data Systems has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Bread, a technology-driven digital payments company offering an omnichannel solution for retailers and platform capabilities to bank partners.
  • Anexinet has reached an agreement to purchase SereneIT, a solution provider specialising in data centre automation and AI.
  • Ansys intends to acquire space data services provider Analytical Graphics for $700 million.

John McAfee, the cyber security entrepreneur and crypto personality, has been arrested in Spain.

  • Apple has bought Vilynx, a Spanish artificial intelligence company.
  • ASE Technology Holding has announced that Siliconware Electronics (Fujian), a wholly-owned subsidiary in China of its member firm Siliconware Precision Industries, has been sold to Shenzhen Hiwin System.
  • Atos has reached an agreement to acquire Eagle Creek Software Services, a US-based technology and management consulting company specialised in Salesforce enterprise implementations for its customers across North America. It has also reached an agreement to buy SEC Consult Group, a leading international cyber security consulting provider.
  • Avalara has purchased Transaction Tax Resources ($377 million).
  • Bandwidth has made an agreement to buy Voxbone, a Europe-based cloud communications company (€446 million).
  • Bowmark Capital has purchased Totalmobile, a developer of field service management software.
  • Cellnex is buying around 7 000 sites from Poland’s Play for €800 million, taking a 60% stake in the newly formed site management company, with the remaining 40% stake being retained by Play.
  • Command Alkon, a Thoma Bravo portfolio company, has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase Trimble's construction logistics business.
  • Cognizant has unveiled plans to acquire Bright Wolf, an Amazon Web Services and Microsoft industrial IOT partner that sells into large enterprises such as industrial heavyweights.
  • CommScope has bought the complete patent portfolio for virtual radio access networks from Phluido, a pioneer in RAN virtualisation and disaggregation.
  • Dun & Bradstreet has agreed to purchase Bisnode Business Information Group, another provider of business data and analytics.
  • FactSet has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Truvalue Labs, a pioneer in AI-driven environmental, social and governance data.
  • Five9 has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Inference Solutions, the most widely deployed intelligent virtual agent platform.
  • A French appeals court has confirmed the country’s anti-trust authority’s order to Google to pay French publishing companies and news agencies for their content.
  • Google is facing a new anti-trust case in India in which the US tech giant is alleged to have abused its Android operating system's position in the smart television market.
  • GTT Communications will sell its infrastructure unit to I Squared Capital in a $2.15 billion deal.
  • Huya will buy DouYu International, another Chinese live streaming company.
  • IBM is splitting itself into two public companies, capping a years-long effort to diversify away from its legacy businesses to focus on high-margin cloud computing. IBM will list its IT infrastructure services unit, which provides outsourcing services including technical support for data centres, as a separate company with a new name by the end of 2021.
  • Infosys has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Blue Acorn iCi, a provider of digital customer experience, commerce and analytics.
  • Intel has agreed to sell its NAND memory chip business to SK Hynix for $9 billion; and will acquire SigOpt, a start-up that provides a leading platform for the optimisation of artificial intelligence software models at scale.
  • Iron Mountain has announced the formation of a €300 million+ joint venture with an affiliate of AGC Equity Partners to design and develop a hyperscale data centre currently under development in Frankfurt, Germany.
  • Juniper Networks is acquiring 128 Technology, a smart wide area networking start-up ($450 million).
  • Marvell Technology has reached an agreement to acquire rival semiconductor company Inphi ($10 billion).
  • John McAfee, the cyber security entrepreneur and crypto personality, has been arrested in Spain and is awaiting extradition to the US for alleged tax evasion.
  • NEC has agreed to buy Switzerland-based Avaloq Group, a financial software firm.
  • Italy’s Nexi will acquire fintech rival SIA for about €4.6 billion, thus creating a payments giant.
  • Persistent Systems has entered into an agreement to acquire CAPIOT, including its subsidiaries in Australia, India and Singapore.
  • Ping Identity has bought ShoCard, a leader in technology designed to transform the way users manage their identity and engage with companies.
  • Pluralsight has purchased DevelopIntelligence, a provider of strategic skills consulting and virtual instructor-led training for IT, software development and engineering teams at many of the world’s most influential enterprise companies.
  • Providence Equity Partners has agreed to acquire a majority stake in Signaturit Solutions, which offers electronic signature and identity verification software.
  • Quibi, a streaming service, is to wind down only six months after its launch.
  • Quorum Software, a Thoma Bravo company, has acquired Landdox, a software developer for the energy and infrastructure sectors.
  • Raytheon has signed a deal to sell its cyber security subsidiary Forcepoint to Francisco Partners.
  • Ricoh has bought UK-based MTI Technology, a technology services and solutions provider.
  • SMART Global Holdings has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase the Cree LED Products business unit ($300 million).
  • SolarWinds has signed a definitive agreement to acquire SentryOne, a leading technology provider of database performance monitoring and DataOps solutions on SQL Server, Azure SQL Database and the Microsoft Data Platform.
  • Splunk has purchased Plumbr, an application performance monitoring company offering auto-instrumentation, real user monitoring and deep application performance insights for enterprise applications; and signed a definitive agreement to acquire Rigor, a digital experience monitoring company offering advanced synthetic monitoring and optimisation tools.
  • STMicroelectronics has bought SOMOS Semiconductor, a fabless semiconductor company founded in 2018, specialising in silicon-based power amplifiers and in RF Front-End Modules products.
  • Take-Two Interactive's Rockstar Games subsidiary has purchased Ruffian Games, a video game developer, and rebranded it as Rockstar Dundee.
  • Thoma Bravo has acquired a controlling stake in AxiomSL, a developer of risk management and regulatory software.
  • Swedish operator Telia is one of many telcos that have been gradually selling off their foreign infrastructure assets to focus on their home markets, and has now agreed to sell its carrier business to a group of Swedish pension funds under the Polhem Infra banner.
  • Thrive has bought Timlin Enterprises, a provider of applications and services around the Microsoft 365 platform.
  • Tibco Software is acquiring Information Builders, a pioneer and long-time player in the business analytics market.
  • Twilio plans to buy Segment, a customer data infrastructure company ($3.2 billion).
  • The US Justice Department has filed a formal anti-trust lawsuit against Google.
  • Veeam Software has bought Kasten, a developer of backup and disaster recovery technology for Kubernetes-native workloads.
  • Visa has signed a definitive agreement to purchase YellowPepper, a fintech pioneer with proprietary technology and partnerships supporting leading financial institutions and start-ups in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • VoiceComm has signed a definitive agreement to buy certain assets of TESSCO Technologies’ Retail Division, including the Ventev Mobile Device Accessories Brand.
  • Wipro will purchase Encore Theme Technologies, a software as a service and cloud solutions provider for the financial services sector.
  • ZoomInfo has acquired Clickagy, a leading provider of artificial intelligence-powered buyer intent data.
  • Alibaba has made a $3.6 billion investment in Sun Art Retail Group, thus giving it overall control, with about a 72% shareholding.
  • Insight Partners invested in Ambassador Labs and Zest AI.
  • SoftBank made a $215 million investment in Kahoot, a provider of a user-generated, gamified e-learning platform.
  • TA Associates invested in Priority Software, which offers business management software.
  • VEON invested in ShopUp, Bangladesh's leading full-stack B2B commerce platform for small businesses.
  • The investments led by Insight Partners in Chargebee, the subscription billing and revenue operations platform; CoreView, the market-leading Microsoft 365 management platform; and Skilljar, a customer education platform.
  • The announcement of new CEOs at Alteryx, Golan Telecom, Imagination Technologies and Persistent Systems.
  • The death of Lee Kun-hee, chairman of Samsung.
  • IPO filings for China’s Nasdaq-like STAR market from Shenzhen Consys Science & Technology Co, a manufacturer and distributor of telecommunications equipment.
  • IPO filings for the US from Roblox, a US gaming platform, and Playtika Holding Corp, a Chinese mobile gaming company.
  • IPOs on Nasdaq from Allegro MicroSystems and McAfee.
  • IPOs on the NYSE from Datto and FuboTV.

Stock market changes

  • JSE All share index: Down 4.7%
  • FTSE100: Down 5.5%
  • DAX: Down 8.9%
  • NYSE (Dow): Down 4.3%
  • S&P 500: Down 2.3%
  • Nasdaq: Down 1.5%
  • Nikkei225: Down 0.2%
  • Hang Seng: Up 2.8%
  • Shanghai: Up 0.2%

Research highlights

  • Worldwide IT spending is projected to total $3.8 trillion in 2021, an increase of 4% from 2020, according to Gartner. IT spending in 2020 is expected to total $3.6 trillion, down 5.4% from 2019.
  • The global economy remains on its way to its "digital destiny", driving $6.8 trillion of IT spending from 2020 to 2023, according to IDC.

Final word

Look out for further consolidation in the semiconductor sector and the outcome of various investigations into the big tech companies.

See also