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Dell buyout on the cards

Michael Dell and his private equity backers are in talks to acquire the company.

Read time 4min 40sec

The international ICT market was dominated last week by the announcement that Dell was in discussions with private equity companies regarding a potential buyout, which could be worth over $16 billion.

Locally, the new initiatives from Orange regarding the local market stole much of the local ICT headline space.

Key local news of the past week

* A negative trading update from Datatec.
* France Telecom (Orange) launched a new subsidiary, Orange Horizons, headed by S'ebastien Crozier. It is aimed at seeking out new business opportunities in countries where it is not already present, with South Africa its first project. Part of this project is an e-commerce Web site that will market telecommunications-related devices and accessories. This could be a precursor to its entry into SA as an MVNO.
* A renewed JSE cautionary by the Huge Group.
* Rectron was appointed sole local distributor for the Everki brand of products, which includes stylish and innovative lifestyle products that carry and protect digital equipment.

Key African news

A Dutch court ruled Samsung's Galaxy tablets do not infringe Apple's design.

* France Telecom has signed a mobile browser deal with Baidu for its smartphones, specifically for use across Africa and the Middle East.
* The appointments of Fredrik Jejdling as head of Ericsson's sub-Saharan African region; Grant Marais as regional VP of Africa sales for Intelsat; and Herve Perrin as CEO of Set Mobile, Cameroon's MVNO.

Key international news

* Fiserv purchased Open Solutions, a provider of collaborative, enterprise core account processing technology for financial institutions, in a deal worth $850 million.
* Groupon bought Glassmap, a location and discovery start-up.
* Rogers Communications acquired Mountain Cablevision and some wireless spectrum from Shaw Communications.
* Violin Memory purchased GridIron Systems, a company that specialises in accelerating applications that run in data centres. The former has a planned IPO later this year.
* Softbank sold off two-thirds of its stake in eAccess, a Japanese telecommunications company it bought last October, to a fund owned by Samsung Electronics and 10 others.
* Michael Dell and his private equity backers are locked in talks to acquire Dell, the company he started with $1 000 as a teenager three decades ago.
* Comcast made a $150 million investment in Arris Group, the recent buyer of Motorola's set-top box business.
* Cisco invested in Parallels, a Russian software developer.
* Liberty Global invested in Telenet, in a move that raises its stake to 58%.

The following patent and lawsuit activity:

* A Dutch court ruled Samsung's Galaxy tablets do not infringe Apple's design.
* Three former executives of Nortel Networks, including the ex-CEO, have been acquitted of fraud charges.

* Good quarterly numbers from Amphenol, HCL Technologies, Tata Consultancy Services, TSMC and Wipro.
* Mediocre quarterly results from ASML, Intel and Xilinx.
* Mixed quarterly figures from eBay, with revenue up but profit down.
* The appointments of Lloyd Carnet as CEO of Brocade Communications Systems; Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo (an ex-CEO of Nokia) as chairman of Zenterio, a Swedish TV box software firm; John McCormack as CEO of Websense; and Gopal Vittal as CEO of Bharti Airtel's Indian operations.
* The resignations of Sanjay Kapoor, CEO of Bharti Airtel's Indian operations; Anthony Lacavera, CEO of Wind Mobile (Canada); and Jack Ma, CEO of Alibaba Group (becomes executive chairman).
* The death of Aaron Swartz, an Internet activist and computer prodigy.
* A planned IPO on Nasdaq by CyrusOne, the data centre business of Cincinnati Bell.

Look out for

* International:
* The outcome of the talks between Dell and various private equity companies regarding a possible privatisation of the company.
* A buyer for Symantec's Altiris unit, which was bought by the former in 2007.

* Africa:
* The growth by France Telecom of its presence in Africa, with Benin, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Togo being prime candidate countries.

* South Africa:
* Further developments regarding the Net 1 UEPS situation.
* Further developments regarding Telkom.

Research results and predictions

* Worldwide PC shipments in Q4 2012 totalled 90.3 million units, a decline of 4.9%, according to Gartner.
* Worldwide microprocessor revenue will rise 3.2% in 2013 to almost 384 million units, according to IDC.
* According to Ovum's new report: '2013 Trends to Watch: Cloud Computing', cloud computing will continue to grow rapidly in 2013 and tackle two hitherto irreconcilable IT challenges: the need to reduce costs and the need to boost innovation.

Stock market changes

* JSE All share index: Down 0.3%
* Nasdaq: Up 0.3%
* Top SA share movements: ConvergeNet Holdings (+9.1%), Digicore (+18%), Gijima (-15.6%), Labat Africa (+9.1%), Muvoni (+42.9%) and Net 1 UEPS Technologies (+12.9%)

Final word

The Boston Consulting Group recently published its latest biennial rankings of its 100 global business challengers. From a local perspective, MTN and Naspers were included among the five South African companies named. Also included from a technology perspective were Alibaba Group, America M'ovil, Bharti Airtel, Huawei Technologies, Infosys, Lenovo, PTT (Thailand), Tata Computer Services, VimpelCom, Wipro and ZTE.

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