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China suspends Ant Group listing

Ant Group’s planned $37 billion initial public offering in China and Hong Kong was suspended with just days to go.
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November was dominated by the suspension of the Ant Group’s proposed listing and a raft of acquisitions and proposed acquisitions.

South African highlights

  • Alviva Holdings acquired Tarsus Technology Group from Investec, the holding company, for R184.5 million.
  • Bytes Technology is to be ‘decoupled’ from Altron and separately listed in London and Johannesburg.
  • Customer Fraud Solutions, a fraud and risk management company, has converged with MoData to create MoData Digital Services.
  • Datatec’s Logicalis Group has acquired a 65% interest in iZeno, a specialist in digital transformation solutions based in Singapore.
  • EOH is liquidating its business unit Nextec Advisory; and EOH Mthombo has entered into a share purchase agreement to dispose of 100% of MARS Holdings, together with its subsidiaries and associates (Syntell), to a consortium led by the current executive directors of Syntell (R211 million).
  • The JSE has acquired a minority stake in UK fintech company Globacap for £4 million.
  • Telkom’s ICT services business BCX will spin off its data centre business into another Telkom subsidiary, Gyro.
  • Telviva, formerly Connection Telecom, has increased its shareholding in AnD Communications to 100%.
  • Ukheshe has entered into an agreement to acquire Oltio, developer of the digital payments platform that supports Masterpass, Mastercard’s QR payment service in SA.
  • African Infrastructure Investment Managers invested a minority equity stake in MetroFibre Networx, a South African open access fibre network operator.
  • Naspers has made a R45 million investment in The Student Hub, an online learning platform.
  • The announcement of a new interim CEO at Etion.

African highlights

  • Co-creation Hub has acquired Kenyan educational platform eLimu.
  • The Ethiopian Communications Authority has announced that two new international telecommunications operators will enter the local market by April 2021.
  • Airtel Africa has announced plans to sell around 4 500 telecoms towers in a bid to accelerate the reduction of its $3.5 billion debt.
  • Fudo Security, a leader in privileged access management, has entered the African market through its partnership with DT Networks and DataTegra.
  • MultiChoice has acquired a 20% stake (R1.3 billion) in BetKing, a Nigerian online sports betting company.
  • The announcement of a new CEO at Telekom Networks Malawi.

International highlights

  • Accenture bought Arca, a Spanish engineering services company. It has also entered into an agreement to acquire End-to-End Analytics, a boutique analytics and data science consultancy; and it has invested in TripleBlind, a data privacy and virtual clean room solution provider.
  • Acronis purchased CyberLynx, a Luxembourg-based cyber security consultancy.
  • ANSR acquired FastNext, an artificial intelligence-driven technology firm.
  • Aspen Technology bought Camo Analytics AS, a leading provider of industrial analytics based in Norway.
  • Autodesk purchased Spacemaker, a Norwegian firm whose software is used by architects to create and evaluate buildings or urban developments ($240 million).
  • Avalara acquired the operational assets of Business Licenses, a company that provides software and services for the research, acquisition and management of business licences, registrations and permits for businesses of all sizes.
  • Barracuda bought Fyde, an early-stage remote access vendor.
  • Comlinkdata acquired ShareTracker, a telecoms market analytics and research company.
  • Coupa purchased Llamasoft, a leader in AI-powered supply chain design and planning ($1.5 billion).
  • Descartes Systems Group acquired ShipTrack, a provider of e-commerce final-mile solutions.
  • Electric bought Sinu, a managed service provider.
  • EY India purchased Spotmentor Technologies, an AI-backed human resource technology start-up.
  • FireEye acquired Respond Software, a cyber security investigation automation start-up.
  • Flipkart bought the intellectual property of gaming start-up Mech Mocha and Scapic, the provider of a cloud-based platform that enables creation and publishing of AR and 3D content.
  • GlobalLogic purchased UK-based ECS Group, a company that delivers digital solutions that leverage cloud technologies, with a focus on digital engineering, data analytics and customer experience.
  • IFS acquired Clevest Solutions, the leading provider of mobile workforce management and advanced network deployment solutions in the utilities vertical.
  • Intel bought Cnvrg.io, an Israeli company that has built and operates a platform for data scientists to build and run machine learning models.
  • Lumentum Holdings bought certain technology assets of TriLumina, including its patents and other intellectual property.
  • Mphasis purchased UK-based Datalytyx, a provider of data engineering, data ops and master data management solutions on Snowflake and Talend environments.
  • Ping Identity Holding acquired Symphonic Software, a leader in dynamic authorisation for protecting APIs, data, apps and resources through identity. 
  • Synopsys acquired Moortec, a leading provider of in-chip monitoring technology specialising in process, voltage and temperature sensors; and Light Tec, a global provider of optical scattering measurements and measurement equipment.
  • StorCentric bought Violin Systems, an early leader in all-flash storage.
  • Zix purchased Israel-based CloudAlly, a cloud-based data backup and recovery provider.
  • ZoomInfo acquired EverString, an AI-powered business-to-business data solutions provider.
  • Adobe plans to acquire Workfront, developer of a work management platform aimed at the marketing community ($1.5 billion).
  • American Tower Corporation has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire InSite Wireless Group, which owns, operates and manages about 3 000 communications sites ($3.5 billion).
  • Ant Group’s planned $37 billion IPO in China and Hong Kong has been suspended.
  • Battery Ventures has agreed to buy the combined Cimatron and GibbsCAM software businesses from global additive manufacturing solutions company 3D Systems.
  • Baidu will acquire JOYY’s YY Live, a streaming platform ($3.6 billion).
  • Britain will impose a new competition regime next year to prevent Google and Facebook using their dominance to push out smaller firms and disadvantage consumers.
  • BuzzFeed will acquire HuffPost from Verizon Media in a deal uniting two digital media pioneers.
  • Capgemini has entered into a scheme implementation deed to acquire Australian digital services consultancy provider, RXP Services.
  • Cellnex Telecom has agreed to acquire a portfolio of nearly 25 000 telecoms towers in Europe from China's CK Hutchison (€10 billion).
  • China has published draft rules aimed at preventing monopolistic behaviour by Internet platforms, a move that will increase scrutiny on e-commerce marketplaces and payment services belonging to companies such as the Alibaba Group.
  • ConnectWise, a Thoma Bravo company, hopes to acquire Perch Security, a cyber security company with an in-house SOC ($80 million).
  • Document Security Systems will be renamed Alset.
  • The European Union has charged Amazon with damaging retail competition, accusing it of using its size, power and data to give it an unfair advantage over smaller merchants that sell on its online platform.
  • The EU has announced that tech giants that break new EU rules aimed at curbing their powers could face fines, be ordered to change their practices or even be forced to break up their European businesses.
  • France's finance ministry has sent out notices to big tech companies liable for its digital service tax to pay the levy as planned in December.
  • A group led by privacy activist Max Schrems has filed complaints with German and Spanish data protection authorities over Apple's online tracking tool, alleging that it allows iPhones to store users’ data without their consent, in breach of European law.
  • Huawei plans to sell budget-brand smartphone unit Honor, in a $15.2 billion deal, to a consortium led by handset distributor Digital China and the government of its hometown of Shenzhen.
  • IBM has reached a definitive agreement to acquire TruQua Enterprises, an IT services and consulting SAP development partner that specialises in delivering finance and analytics solutions to Fortune 500 companies; and Instana, an application performance monitoring and observability company.
  • Infobip has entered into a definitive agreement with Amdocs to acquire OpenMarket, a leading provider of mobile messaging solutions to enterprises ($300 million).
  • Kyocera has concluded an agreement to acquire SLD Laser, a world leader in the commercialisation of gallium nitride based laser light sources.
  • Leonard Green & Partnershas agreed to acquire ECI Software Solutions, a provider of business management software.
  • MediaTek’s Richtek Technology plans to acquire assets related to the power management solutions product line sold under the Enpirion brand owned by Intel and its subsidiaries.
  • Italy’s Nexi has agreed to a €7.8 billion merger with Nordic rival Nets to create Europe’s largest payments group.
  • Nuance Communications will sell its Health Information Management Transcription business and the Electronic Health Record Go-Live Services business to a new independent company, DeliverHealth Solutions, formed by Assured Healthcare Partners in partnership with Aeries Technology Group.
  • Orange Romania has signed a deal to acquire Telekom Romania for €268 million.
  • Palo Alto Networks will acquire Expanse, an attack surface management vendor ($800 million).
  • PDF Solutions has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Cimetrix, a leading global provider of equipment connectivity products for smart manufacturing and Industry 4.0.
  • Russia has opened a case against Google for failing to remove banned content from its search engine.
  • Serviceaide, an intelligent IT and enterprise service management technology developer, is acquiring one of its peers, Wendia, in a move to create a more complete IT service platform.
  • Snap is buying a start-up called Voca.ai, which builds AI-based voice assistants for customer support services.
  • A South Korean agency for protecting personal information has fined Facebook $6.06 million and sought a criminal investigation for providing users’ personal information to other operators without consent.
  • Splunk has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Flowmill, a cloud network observability company with expertise in network performance monitoring.
  • Spotify Technology has agreed to buy Megaphone, a podcast advertising and publishing platform ($235 million).
  • Sapiens has agreed to purchase Tia Technology, a leading global provider of software solutions for the insurance industry.
  • Singtel’s Australian subsidiary Optus is planning to acquire Amaysim’s mobile business ($175 million).
  • Sharp will return to Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average, replacing NTT Docomo and marking a comeback on Japan’s premier blue-chip index just four years after it was removed.
  • Tata Consultancy Services is acquiring Postbank Systems, which provides IT services to Deutsche Bank; and has agreed to acquire Pramerica Technology Services from insurance giant Prudential Financial.
  • TELUS International has entered into an agreement to acquire Lionbridge AI, a global provider of crowd-based training data and annotation platform solutions used in the development of AI algorithms to power machine learning (C$1.2 billion).
  • Take-Two will buy British videogame developer Codemasters for $973 million.
  • The Turkish Competition Board has fined Google $26 million after ruling it was abusing its market dominance.
  • Trace3 is expanding its geographic footprint with the acquisition of fellow solution provider Groupware Technology, a company that has skills around cloud optimisation, cloud billing, a sophisticated integration centre in Northern California and some very good level one and level two support capabilities.
  • TPG Capital and TA Associates have agreed to purchase a majority stake in Thoma Bravo’s Planview, a provider of portfolio and work management software.
  • USA Technologies will transition its corporate identity to exclusively operate under the name Cantaloupe.
  • ViacomCBS has entered into a definitive agreement to sell the publishing business Simon & Schuster to Penguin Random House, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bertelsmann SE & Co ($2.175 billion)
  • VirnetX continues to pile up courtroom wins against Apple, as a jury ordered the tech giant to pay $502.8 million for violating VinetX's patents for secure networks – called virtual private networks – and secure communications links in Apple's FaceTime video conferencing app.
  • Vista Equity Partners has agreed to buy a majority stake ($1.5 billion) in Pipedrive, a developer of CRM software for the sales industry.
  • Insight Partners has led an investment in CloudBolt Software, the enterprise leader in cloud management and integration solutions, and Apprentice.io, an intelligent software company for life science manufacturing.
  • Intel Capital and Qualcomm Ventures have led an investment in Israel's Cellwize Wireless Technologies, a provider of mobile network automation technology.
  • The announcement of new CEOs at Avnet, Cirrus Logic, Elys Game Technology, Gilat Satellite Networks, Graylog, Microchip Technology, Panasonic, Viasat and Virtana.
  • The death of Faqir Chand Kohli, an Indian software industry doyen and the first CEO of Tata Consultancy Services.
  • IPOs on Nasdaq from NeoGames SA, Ozon and Telos.
  • An IPO on the NYSE from Lufax.

Stock market changes

  • JSE All share index: Up 11.9%
  • FTSE100: Up 14.2%
  • DAX: Up 15.4%
  • NYSE (Dow): Up 12.9% (an all-time high reached during this period)
  • S&P 500: Up 11.3% (an all-time high reached during this period)
  • Nasdaq: Up 11.9% (an all-time high reached during this period)
  • Nikkei225: Up 16% (highest weekend close of 2020 during this period)
  • Hang Seng: Up 11.6%
  • Shanghai: Up 5.7% (highest weekend close of 2020 during this period)

Research highlights

  • IT spending in EMEA is forecast to total $1.075 trillion in 2021, an increase of 2.8% from 2020, according to Gartner. IT spending in the region is expected to decline 6.5% in 2020.

Final word

Look out for Salesforce.com acquiring Slack.

In addition, Fortune magazine recently published its 2020 100 fastest growing companies list. Included in the top 25 were:

  • 5: Netflix
  • 10: Amazon
  • 14: Alibaba
  • 15: Veeva Systems
  • 16: Fortinet
  • 18: Paycom Software
  • 20: Take Two Interactive Software
  • 21: EPAM Systems
See also