Softbank claims stake in Sprint Nextel

In the largest deal of 2012, the Japanese telco acquired 70% of Sprint Nextel for $20.1 billion.

The international ICT world was dominated last week by the more than $20 billion Softbank/Sprint Nextel deal, and Apple's loss of its UK legal fight with Samsung.

At home, the sudden resignation of Alan Knott-Craig Jnr as CEO of Mxit, and the latest news regarding the MTN/Turkcell lawsuit stole much of the local ICT headline space.

Key local news of the past week

* Satisfactory interim numbers from Datatec, with revenue up 7.5% and profit up 3.8%.
* The lawsuit in the US involving MTN and Turkcell is currently on hold, pending a US Supreme Court ruling as to whether the case can be heard in a US court.
* Conduct Communications plans to spend R500 million in the next 12 to 24 months, expanding high-speed communications networks to 100 precincts around the country.
* The appointments of Laurence Savage as COO of Altech; and Francois Swart as interim CEO of Mxit.
* The resignations of Alan Knott-Craig Jnr, CEO of Mxit; and Matthew Phosa, chairman of EOH.

Key African news

* Sofrecom Tunisia (Orange) has been officially inaugurated in that country.
* BridgeWave Communications is to expand into North Africa.
* Intelsat has successfully launched Intelsat 23, which will provide coverage to several continents, including Africa.
* The Nigerian Communications Commission is to merge the country's CDMA operators, ie, MPS, Multilinks and Starcomms.
* Craig Schweitzer was appointed as the new Bytes Document Solutions Xerox Division manager for Africa.

Key international news

* Apple acquired Particle, an HTML5 Web App consultancy firm.
* ASML bought Cymer, a manufacturer of the light sources used by the former in its equipment used to manufacture computer chips. The deal was worth EUR1.95 billion.
* Megafon, the second-largest Russian mobile operator, purchased Euroset, Russia's largest handset retailer, for $1.3 billion.
* Microsoft bought StorSimple, an online storage service provider.
* Softbank, Japan's third largest telecommunications company, acquired 70% of Sprint Nextel for $20.1 billion, in a move that will create the world's third largest mobile phone operator by revenue. The deal is the largest globally this year and the fifth largest cross-border telecommunications deal ever. It is also the largest-ever acquisition of a US company by a Japanese buyer.
* Sprint Nextel made an additional 5% investment in Clearwire, a move that re-establishes the former's majority equity stake in the latter.
* EU regulators have said Google must change its controversial privacy policy or risk hefty fines.
* Apple has lost its UK legal fight with Samsung, and must place a link on its Web homepage to bring the judgment to the attention of the general public.
* Very good quarterly figures from Tata Consultancy Services.
* Good quarterly numbers from eBay and Riverbed Technology.
* Satisfactory quarterly results from Amphenol, Check Point Software Technologies, Millicom International Cellular, NCR, Turkcell and Verizon Communications.
* Mediocre quarterly results from IBM, Intel, Microsoft, SanDisk and Xilinx.
* Mixed quarterly figures from Flextronics, with revenue down but profit up; and Google, with revenue well up but profit down.
* Very poor quarterly figures from Lam Research.
* Quarterly losses from AMD and Nokia.
* The appointments of Henrique de Castro as COO of Google; Timothy Main as chairman of Jabil Circuit (was CEO); and Mark Mondello as CEO of Jabil Circuit.
* William Morean, chairman of Jabil Circuit, retired.
* An IPO filing from Violin Memory, a flash memory maker.
* An IPO filing on Nasdaq from, a Chinese social communications platform.

Look out for

* International:

* A possible buy-out of Juniper Networks by EMC.
* The merger of Vivendi's SFR telecommunications business with Numericable, in a deal that would combine France's second largest mobile operator and one of the country's biggest cable groups.
* The listing of Telefonica's German operation on 30 October.
* The $650 million sell-off by Cable & Wireless Worldwide of its controlling stake in CTM (Macau).
* The acquisition by IBM of Israel's mobile phone software maker Red Bend Software.
* The possible acquisition by Amazon of Texas Instruments' mobile chip business division.
* Africa:
* The possible merging by Bharti Airtel of its African and Indian operations.
* Resolution of the MTN Swaziland phone war.
* South Africa:
* Further developments regarding the MTN/Turkcell lawsuit, BCX's outstanding cautionary and the future of Telkom.

Research results and predictions

* The external storage market in the CEMA region increased by 13.5% in Q2 to reach $463 million, according to IDC.
* Big data will drive $28 million of IT spending in 2012, according to Gartner.

Stock market changes

* JSE All share index: Up 0.9% (highest-ever weekend close)
* Nasdaq: Down 1.3%
* Top SA share movements: ConvergeNet Holdings (-14.8%), FoneWorx (-9.1%), Jasco (-9.4%), Labat Africa (+30%), Mix Telematics (+7.1%), Muvoni (-40%) and Poynting (-9.5%)

Final word

InformationWeek has just published its annual '500' listing. From a technology perspective, the following were the highest rated companies:

28: Broadview Networks
29: Active Networks
33: Accenture
38: Rackspace Hosting
40: Tech Data
42: IBM
45: Equinix
48: C Spire Wireless

Paul Booth

Paul Booth is an independent commentator who looks for significance in what ICT vendors haven't said.

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