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Alphabet joins trillionaire club

The company reaches the $1 trillion market valuation milestone, joining Amazon, Apple and Microsoft.
Read time 10min 20sec

Several multibillion-dollar deals, including that of Veeam, dominated the international ICT market last week.

At home, issues involving Yakani Manufacturing took centre stage.

Key local news

  • CipherWave has agreed to purchase Rain’s Broadlink telecommunications business.
  • Kerlink, a specialist in solutions dedicated to the Internet of things, has expanded into SA with a distribution agreement with IoTdc, a distributor of connected hardware and device-related applications for IOT.
  • Naspers-owned fintech firm PayU has taken a controlling stake in PaySense, an Indian digital lending firm, in a deal valued at $185 million.
  • Yekani Manufacturing, a R1 billion smart factory in the Eastern Cape that many believed would give international giants such as Apple, Huawei and Samsung a run for their money, is reportedly facing liquidation.
  • A renewed JSE cautionary by Ayo Technology Solutions.
  • The appointment of Alistair Mokoena as Google SA country director.

Key African news

  • The appointments of Sanjit Bardhan as director of Salient System in the Middle East, Africa and India; Gordian Kyomukama as CEO of MTN South Sudan; and Derya Matra? as regional director for Facebook in the Middle East, Africa and Turkey region.
  • The resignation of Hendrik Kasteel, CEO of MTN Cameroon.

Key international news

  • Accel-KKR acquired Springbrook Software, a creator of financial and administrative software used by more than 800 local governments.
  • Altair bought newFASANT, which offers leading technology in computational and high-frequency electromagnetics.
  • Appian purchased Novayre Solutions SL, developer of the Jidoka RPA platform.
  • Apple acquired Xnor.ai, an artificial intelligence company, for $200 million.
  • Broadcom bought Bay Dynamics, a cyber risk analytics software provider.
  • Bullhorn, a provider of software for the staffing industry, purchased Herefish, which offers automation software for staffing firms.
  • Cloudflare acquired S2 Systems, a company that has developed patented browser isolation technology to make everyday Web browsing safer and faster.
  • Coupa Software bought Yapta, a travel price optimisation leader.

China has for the first time included the Internet industry in an envisioned overhaul of its anti-monopoly laws.

  • Entegris, a leader in specialty chemicals and advanced materials solutions, purchased Sinmat, a CMP slurry manufacturer.
  • Google acquired AppSheet, a leading no-code application development platform.
  • MTBC bought CareCloud Corporation, which provides its proprietary, award-winning, enterprise cloud platform and business solutions to more than 7 000 healthcare providers nationwide.
  • Perficient purchased MedTouch, an award-winning $13 million annual revenue digital healthcare marketing and technology consultancy.
  • Perion Network acquired Content IQ, a digital publishing orchestration system with proprietary data algorithms and analytic tools that deconstruct content, revenue and distribution to solve today's biggest digital publishing challenges.
  • Samsung Electronics bought US-based TeleWorld Solutions, a network services provider.
  • Sapiens International purchased sum.cumo, the German-based technology provider that offers disruptive, digital, innovative and consumer-centric solutions mainly to the insurance sector, for up to €28.4 million.
  • Synopsys acquired Tinfoil Security to better integrate dynamic application security testing into development and DevOps workflows.
  • Teledyne Technologies bought OakGate Technology, which provides software and hardware designed to test electronic data storage devices from development through manufacturing and end-use applications.
  • Trimble purchased the privately held transportation management system provider Kuebix.
  • Trinity Hunt Partners acquired Dataprise, a massive solution provider.
  • Accenture has agreed to purchase Maihiro, a customer relationship management consulting firm founded in 2000 and based in Munich.
  • Alphabet has joined the $1 trillion market valuation milestone, joining Amazon, Apple and Microsoft in that ‘club’.
  • China has for the first time included the Internet industry in an envisioned overhaul of its anti-monopoly laws, potentially giving regulators the power to rein in the country’s increasingly dominant technology giants.
  • Equinix has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Packet, the leading bare metal automation platform.
  • Global Blue, a Swiss payments company, has agreed to conduct a reverse merger with blank-cheque company Far Point Acquisition that will see the company go public on the NYSE. As part of the deal, new investors Ant Financial Services and Third Point have agreed to invest a combined $350 million into Global Blue through a private placement, at an enterprise valuation of about $2.6 billion. Silver Lake, which acquired Global Blue for €1 billion in 2012, will retain a minority stake.
  • Google intends to acquire Pointy, a retail start-up in Ireland that lets brick-and-mortar retailers list inventory online.
  • ICF has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Incentive Technology Group, one of the leading and fastest-growing providers of cloud-based platform services to the US federal government.
  • Insight Partners will buy Armis, a cyber security firm, for $1.1 billion, as well as Veeam, which focuses on the software and SaaS market, in a transaction valued at about $5 billion.
  • LexisNexis Risk Solutions, part of RELX, has entered into an agreement to acquire NortonLifeLock’s ID Analytics, a trusted provider of credit and fraud risk solutions for enterprises, for a purchase price of $375 million.
  • IT infrastructure monitoring firm LogicMonitor has agreed to buy Unomaly, a Swedish start-up.
  • A company backed by Permira has agreed to purchase a majority stake in Lytx, the producer of the DriveCam and other video telematics products for commercial and public sector vehicle fleets.
  • Synopsys has signed a definitive agreement to acquire certain IP assets of INVECAS, which will broaden the former’s DesignWare Logic Library, General Purpose I/O, Embedded Memory, Interface and Analog IP portfolio.
  • Synnex plans to separate into two publicly traded companies, comprising Synnex Technology Solutions, an IT distribution, services and integrated solutions company, and Concentrix, a global CX solutions company.
  • Visa has agreed to pay $5.3 billion to acquire Plaid, a fintech start-up.
  • Wesco International has agreed to buy Anixter International, a leading global distributor of network and security solutions, electrical and electronic solutions, and utility power solutions, in a transaction valued at approximately $4.5 billion.
  • The proposed investment by Baidu ($86 million) for a minority stake in Shenzhen-listed IT solutions provider Yusys Technologies, as it seeks to partner with the company in the fields of financial cloud, big data, AI and blockchain.
  • The Halifax Group invested in TriMech, a purveyor of design and engineering software, 3D printers and related products.
  • Tencent and TMT-focused investment firm Xiang He Capital led a $73 million investment in NextData, an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered risk control solutions provider in China.
  • Volterra Semiconductor has filed a complaint in the US District Court for the District of Delaware against Monolithic Power Systems, asserting that MPS DC-to-DC power converter products infringe multiple Volterra patents related to coupled inductor technology.
  • US trade regulators will investigate wearable monitoring devices, including those made by Fitbit and Garmin, following allegations of patent violations by rival Koninklijke Philips and its North America unit.
  • The new Symantec Enterprise Security patent owner Broadcom has agreed to provide Zscaler with a patent licence, release and covenant not to sue in exchange for a $15 million payment.
  • Four companies have sued Facebook in US federal court for alleged anticompetitive conduct, saying the social network inappropriately revoked developer access to its platform in order to harm prospective competitors.
  • Very good quarterly figures from Reliance Jio Infocomm.
  • Good quarterly numbers from TSMC.
  • Satisfactory quarterly results from IHS Markit, L&T Technology Services, Mindtree, TCS and WNS Holdings.
  • Mixed quarterly figures from Shaw Communications and Wipro, with revenue up but net income down.
  • Quarterly losses from Progress Software and Volt Information Sciences.
  • A half-year loss from Rosslyn Data Technologies.
  • The announced appointments of Robert Bearden as CEO of Cloudera; Christal Bemont as CEO of Talend; Harold Bevis as CEO and chairman of Boxlight; Mirko Bibic as CEO of BCE; Avi Gabbay as CEO of Cellcom Israel; Andre Krause as CEO of Sunrise Communications; Peter Leav as CEO of McAfee; Carleton M Miller as CEO of Vislink Technologies; Pam Murphy as CEO of Imperva; Karl Peterson as non-executive chairman of Sabre; Tomer Raved as CEO of B Communications (Israel); and Peter Smith as CEO of Arista Networks.
  • The announced resignations of Mark Elliott, CEO and chairman of Boxlight (stays on as a director); Larry Kellner, chairman of Sabre; and Olaf Swantee, CEO of Sunrise Communications.
  • The announced retirements of George Cope, CEO of BCE; and Gerald R Mattys, CEO of Tactile Systems Technology.
  • The announced departures of Ami Barlev, CEO of B Communications; Mike Tuchen, CEO of Talend (but stays on the board); and Chris Young, CEO of McAfee.

Research results and predictions

Worldwide:

  • Global server shipments, having declined moderately by 1.4% in 2019, will return growth in 2020, thanks to significant demand from the data centre sector, according to Digitimes Research.
  • Worldwide PC shipments totalled 70.6 million units in Q419, a 2.3% increase from Q418, according to Gartner. For the year 2019, PC shipments surpassed 261 million units, showing 0.6% growth from 2018.
  • Worldwide semiconductor revenue totalled $418.3 billion in 2019, down 11.9% from 2018, according to Gartner. Intel regained the number one position in the market as the downturn in the memory market negatively impacted many of the top vendors, including Samsung Electronics, the number one vendor by revenue in 2018 and 2017.
  • Worldwide IT spending is projected to total $3.9 trillion in 2020, an increase of 3.4% from 2019, according to Gartner. Global IT spending is expected to cross into $4 trillion territory next year.
  • The worldwide market for traditional PCs, inclusive of desktops, notebooks and workstations, finished an impressive 2019 with Q4 growth of 4.8% year-on-year, according to IDC. Global shipments during the quarter beat forecast expectations at just under 71.8 million units, the highest single quarter shipment volume in four years. Overall, global shipments grew 2.7% year-on-year in 2019, the first full year of PC growth since the market grew 1.7% in 2011.
  • Worldwide shipments of used smartphones, inclusive of both officially refurbished and used smartphones, reached a total of 206.7 million units in 2019, according to IDC. This represents an increase of 17.6% over the 175.8 million units shipped in 2018. Used smartphone shipments are expected to reach 332.9 million units in 2023, with a CAGR of 13.6% from 2018 to 2023.
  • Vendor revenue from sales of IT infrastructure products for cloud environments, including public and private cloud, declined in 3Q19 as the overall IT infrastructure market continues to experience weakening sales following strong growth in 2018, according to IDC. The forecast for total spending on cloud IT infrastructure in 2019 is expected to be $65.4 billion, which represents flat performance compared to 2018.

Stock market changes

  • JSE All share index: Up 2.6% (highest weekend close since May 2019)
  • FTSE100: Up 1.1% (highest weekend close since July 2018)
  • DAX: Up 0.3% (highest weekend close)
  • NYSE (Dow): Up 1.8% (highest weekend close)
  • S&P 500: Up 2% (highest weekend close)
  • Nasdaq: Up 2.3% (highest weekend close)
  • Nikkei225: Up 0.8% (highest weekend close since September 2018)
  • Hang Seng: Up 1.4% (highest weekend close since June 2018)
  • Shanghai: Down 0.5%

Look out for

International:

  • Dell buying the shares of SecureWorks it doesn’t already own.

South Africa:

  • Further developments regarding Cell C.

Final word

Daniel Newman, principal analyst at Futurum Research, has made 10 predictions for 2020:

  • Apple’s 5G iPhone will be delayed, with the first commercial shipments being in the first half of 2021.
  • Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff will step down, with co-CEO Keith Bloch taking over.
  • Tesla will go from hot to hotter following the launch of the Model Y.
  • Quantum computing will lure investors.
  • Disney+ growth will overtake Netflix.
  • Slack will become an acquisition target.
  • Azure will make gains over Amazon Web Services in the cloud wars.
  • Facebook and Google will face big fines in the name of privacy.
  • Amazon’s Alexa will dominate consumer AI.
  • Semiconductors will eat the world, as chips – not software – are the topic of the largest story on the planet this year, because each of the predictions is based on semiconductors, which enable devices, applications and enterprises.
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