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Google faces proposed privacy class action lawsuit

Google is accused of illegally invading the privacy of millions of users by pervasively tracking their Internet use through browsers set in ‘private’ mode.
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The coronavirus pandemic continues to dominate most things, including the ICT industry, and continues to have a significant effect on quarterly results. However, the IPO market is active and the acquisition situation continues apace.

South African highlights

  • TeleMasters has taken a 25% stake in ConexLink, a data centre specialist.
  • The announcements of new CEOs/MDs/GMs at Hitachi Vantara, Liquid Telecom SA and Webafrica.

African highlights

  • Ethiopia's communications regulator has received 12 bids for the two telecoms licences it plans to award to multinational mobile companies. Included are Axian, Electromecha International Projects, Etisalat, Kandu Global Telecommunications, Liquid Telecom, MTN, Orange, Saudi Telecom Company, Snail Mobile and Global Partnership for Ethiopia, Telkom SA and a consortium of telecoms operators made up of Vodafone, Vodacom and Safaricom.
  • MTN Uganda has confirmed it has completed its licence renewal.
  • The government of Zambia has officially cancelled Uzi Zambia’s licence and invited new bids from interested regional and international telecoms companies to set up the country’s fourth mobile phone network.
  • The announcement of new CEOs/MDs at 9Mobile (Nigeria) and Yasawa’s Southern African arm.

International highlights

  • Accelya, a Spanish provider of tech to the travel industry, which operates in more than 150 countries, has agreed to acquire Farelogix, a US-based airline software company.
  • Accenture has entered into an agreement to acquire Sentelis, a French independent data consulting and engineering company.
  • Amazon has acquired Zoox, a self-driving start-up ($1.2 billion).
  • Apple has acquired Fleetsmith, a start-up whose technology helps businesses manage Apple's Mac and iPad devices among their employee bases; and is facing another anti-trust complaint in Europe after Rakuten joined Spotify in asking Brussels to investigate its App Store.
  • Atos has agreed to acquire Paladion, a US-based global provider of managed security services; as well asFrance’s AliA Consulting.
  • Bouygues Telecom will buy out subsidiary Euro-Information Telecom.
  • Coupa Software has acquired the BELLIN Group, a leading provider of treasury management software.
  • Dell was exploring options for its 81% stake in VMware, including unloading the stake or buying the company outright.
  • Databricks has acquired Redash, the provider of a dashboarding and data visualisation service.
  • Delta Electronics has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Trihedral Engineering, a Canadian SCADA and IIOT software company.

Global sales of smartphones to end-users declined 20.2% in Q120, according to Gartner.

  • Descartes Systems Group has acquired Kontainers, a provider of digital freight platforms.
  • DocuSign has taken the place of United Airlines in the Nasdaq 100 Index.
  • The DSP Group has acquired SoundChip, a supplier of active noise cancellation technology, engineering services, design tools and production-line test systems for headsets.
  • Equinix is purchasing 13 data centres from Bell Canada for $750 million.
  • The European Union is planning on filing formal anti-trust charges against Amazon.com over its treatment of third-party sellers.
  • Facebook has acquired Mapillary, a Swedish mapping technology company; Ready at Dawn Studios, the VR studio behind 'Lone Echo'; and must comply with an order by Germany's anti-trust watchdog to curb data collection from users, in a setback that could set a wider precedent.
  • Formula Systems has acquired 70% of the share capital of Liram Finance Software.
  • The Fortress Investment Group will acquire Finjan Holdings, a recognised pioneer in the development of cyber security technologies.
  • France's top administrative court upheld a €50 million fine imposed last year on Alphabet's Google for breaching European Union online privacy rules.
  • Google will pay some media groups in Australia, Brazil and Germany for high-quality content and expects to do more deals with others. In addition, it has been sued in a proposed class action that accuses it of illegally invading the privacy of millions of users by pervasively tracking their Internet use through browsers set in ‘private’ mode.
  • Great Hill Partners has agreed to acquire Storyblocks, a provider of subscription-based media content including audio, video and images.
  • HYC Technology plans to take over fellow China-based company Xiamen OLT.
  • IBM has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Spanugo, a US-based provider of cloud cyber security posture management solutions.
  • Keysight Technologies has acquired Eggplant, the digital automation intelligence specialist.
  • Kratos will acquire CPI ASC Signal Division from Communications & Power Industries, a manufacturer of high-performance, highly engineered antenna systems.
  • KSM Consulting has acquired Advocate Solutions, a consultancy serving government agencies.
  • Mastercard will buy Finicity in a deal valued at $825 million.
  • Maxar Technologies has exercised its call option to take full ownership of 3D data and analytics firm Vricon for approximately $140 million.
  • Microsoft has acquired ADRM Software, a leading provider of large-scale industry data models, which are used by large companies worldwide as information blueprints; and will be acquiring CyberX, a security start-up that focuses specifically on detecting, stopping and predicting security breaches on Internet of things networks and the networks of large industrial organisations. It is also planning to close all its physical stores worldwide.
  • Motorola Solutions has acquired IndigoVision, a UK-based provider of end-to-end video security solutions.
  • NetApp plans to acquire Spot, a start-up that originally helped companies find and manage cheap infrastructure known as spot instances.
  • Orange has been ordered by a Paris court to pay local rival Digicel nearly €250 million in compensation for anti-competitive practices in the French Caribbean.
  • Ovo, an Indonesian payments start-up, has verbally agreed to merge with rival Dana in an effort to beat out Gojek's GoPay. Ovo is backed by SoftBank, while Dana is backed by Alibaba, so the tie-up would also strengthen bonds between the two mega-corporations.
  • Park Place Technologies has acquired Custom Hardware Engineering & Consulting to boost its bread-and-butter data centre maintenance business.
  • Perficient has acquired Productora de Software, a Colombian software development company.
  • Phison Electronics plans to acquire a 49% stake in Nextorage, a subsidiary of Sony Storage Media Solutions.
  • With the split from European systems integrator Getronics finalised, Pomeroy Technologies, with its workplace optimised tools and automation, has officially launched.
  • R1 RCM, a leading provider of technology-enabled revenue cycle management services to healthcare providers, will acquire Cerner RevWorks’ services business and commercial, non-federal client relationships.
  • ServiceNow has acquired Sweagle, a Belgium-based configuration management start-up.
  • Sinch, a Swedish cloud computing services provider, has agreed to buy India-based ACL Mobile, a leading communications platform provider.
  • Skillsoft, an e-learning company, has filed for pre-packaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy to reduce its debt of about $2 billion.
  • SiriusXM has acquired Simplecast, a leading podcast management platform that enables podcasters to publish, manage and measure their content.
  • Square’s Cash App unit has acquired Verse, a Spanish start-up that offers the ability to send cash between users.
  • Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners has acquired Xplornet Communications, a Canadian provider of broadband services.
  • StorMagic has acquired KeyNexus, a designer of encryption key management solutions.
  • Synopsys has acquired Qualtera, a semiconductor analytics firm.
  • Telefonica Deutschland has agreed to sell 10 100 sites to its majority-owned infrastructure company Telxius for about €1.5 billion.
  • Tencent has purchased Malaysian video streaming platform Iflix’s content, technology and resources.
  • Thoma Bravo has agreed to acquire Exostar, which offers secure communication through cloud-based services, for about $100 million.
  • Thoma Bravo and Madison Dearborn Partners have agreed to invest in the software business of Kaufman, Hall & Associates, a provider of enterprise performance management software, data and management consulting solutions. The unit will be spun off as an independent entity called Syntellis Performance Solutions.
  • Three buyout funds, ie, KKR, Cinven and Providence Equity Partners, have offered to acquire Spanish phone company Masmovil Ibercom for €3 billion.
  • Toshiba plans to sell down its 40.2% stake in flash memory chips firm Kioxia Holdings.
  • VMware has agreed to purchase anti-malware research pioneer Lastline to better detect and contain sophisticated network threats before they disrupt business.
  • WatchGuard has acquired Panda Security.
  • Wipro has partnered with and invested in CloudKnox Security to secure multi-cloud and hybrid cloud infrastructure.
  • Wirecard, the payments company, has filed for insolvency in Germany, saying with €1.3 billion of loans due at the end of the month, its survival as a going concern is “not assured”.
  • Zynga is buying Turkey-based Peak Games, the company behind popular Candy Crush-style mobile gaming apps Toon Blast and Toy Blast, for $1.8 billion.
  • Apax Digital has led a $100 million investment in Payfone, which offers identity verification software to secure digital transactions.
  • Bharti Airtel has acquired a 10% stake in edtech start-up Lattu Media.
  • NTT has invested $600 million (4.8%) in NEC.
  • Facebook’s WhatsApp and PayPal have invested in payment, food delivery and ride-hailing app operator Gojek as part of the Indonesian firm's ongoing fundraising round.
  • The investments by Abu Dhabi Investment Authority ($752 million); Silver Lake and its co-investors ($601.4 million); and Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund ($1.49 billion) in Reliance Industries' digital unit Jio Platforms.
  • WEG, a Brazilian motor maker, made a 51% investment in Mvisia, an artificial intelligence start-up.
  • Tencent Music made a 5.2% investment in Warner Music Group.
  • The investments led by Insight Partners in Apprentice.io to scale its intelligent software platform; INKY Technology Corporation, a pioneer in next-gen e-mail phishing protection; in Postman, an API development platform; and in Spike, a provider of digital collaboration tech for workplaces.
  • Softbank led an investment in Splyt, a start-up that helps app operators integrate mobility options with other services.
  • A planned IPO later this year from Palantir Technologies, the secretive big data firm.
  • An IPO filing for the USA from Snowflake, a cloud data platform that was valued at $12.4 billion in February.
  • An IPO filing for Nasdaq from DoubleDown Interactive, a developer and publisher of digital games on mobile and Web-based platforms.
  • An IPO filing for the NYSE from Dun & Bradstreet, the provider of business data and analytics.
  • An IPO filing for China’s Nasdaq-like Star market from Cambricon Technologies, a Chinese AI chip unicorn.
  • Good IPOs in Hong Kong from NetEase and JD.com.
  • Good IPOs on Nasdaq by Warner Music Group and uCloudlink Group, the world’s first and leading mobile data traffic sharing marketplace.
  • An excellent IPO on Nasdaq by ZoomInfo.
  • A good IPO on the NYSE by Shift4 Payments.
  • The announcement of new CEOs at Amkor Technology, ARM China, Lazada, Lockheed Martin, One Stop Systems, Pomeroy Technologies, US Cellular, Vonage and Wirecard.

Stock market changes for June

  • JSE All share index: Up 6.3%
  • FTSE100: Up 1.4%
  • DAX: Up 4.3%
  • NYSE (Dow): Down 1.4%
  • S&P 500: Down 1.2%
  • Nasdaq: Up 2.8% (all-time high reached during this period)
  • Nikkei225: Up 2.9%
  • Hang Seng: Up 6.9%
  • Shanghai: Up 4.5%

Research highlights

  • Global sales of smartphones to end-users declined 20.2% in Q120, according to Gartner.

Final word

Forbes recently published its annual Global 2000 listing that is derived from a composite of sales, profits, assets and market value. Included in the top 50 are:

  • 9: Apple (was number 6)
  • 11: AT&T (was 12)
  • 13: Alphabet (was 17)
  • 13: Microsoft (was 20)
  • 16: Samsung Electronics (was 13)
  • 20: Verizon Communications (was 18)
  • 22: Amazon (was 28)
  • 27: Comcast (was 34)
  • 28: China Mobile (was 25)
  • 31: Alibaba (was 59)
  • 38: Intel (was 44)
  • 39: Facebook (was 63)
  • 43: NTT (was 46)
  • 50: Tencent Holdings (was 74)
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