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Festive season sparkles with sales

More than 60 acquisitions or investments took place in the international market during the holidays.

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As seems to be the norm over the holiday season, the international ICT market was dominated by over 60 acquisitions or investments during the last seven weeks, some of which are mentioned below.

At home, the Ayo Technology Solutions listing and Incredible Solutions liquidation were the main local events.

Key local news

* Satisfactory interim numbers from Ellies, with revenue up 8.1% and back in the black.
* Satisfactory Q1 numbers from Telemasters, with revenue up 4.4% and profit up 100.6%.
* Mediocre interim figures from MICROmega Holdings, with revenue down 8.3% and profit down 8.3%.
* An interim loss from PBT Group, with revenue down 2.7%.
* Mixed year-end figures from Labat Africa, with revenue up 363.7% but profit down 45.2%.
* A positive trading update from Adapt IT.
* Ayo Technology Solutions (ex-Sekunjalo Technology Solutions), a broad-based black economic empowerment ICT group, listed on the main board of the JSE.
* 4Sight Holdings acquired Foursight South Africa, a public holding company originally created in in 2016 to acquire Industry4.0 technology companies operating in digitisation implementation, data science, data management, process mining, dashboard technology, enterprise architecture and customer relationship management solution areas, and ultimately listing on the JSE.
* Metrofile bought G4S Secure Data Solutions (Kenya), the largest records management company in East Africa, in a deal worth R281.4 million.
* The launch of Azar, part of the fintech division of the New GEM Group. It is a neo-banking and global mobile payments platform that directly charges the user's mobile phone balance, wallet, or bank account. The New GEM Group is a black-owned integrated media, technology, communications and hospitality group.
* Datatec's secondary listing on London's AIM market has ceased.
* Incredible Solutions has filed for voluntary liquidation. Incredible Solutions supplies IT services, accessories and products through its retail partners, and its product lines include hardware, software, digital equipment, computer accessories and consumables.
* A new JSE cautionary by EOH.
* Renewed JSE cautionaries by 4Sight Holdings, Cognition Holdings and Huge Group.
* Withdrawn JSE cautionaries by 4Sight Holdings, EOH and Metrofile Holdings.
* The appointments of Hidetoshi Kaneko as MD of Panasonic SA; and Kena Setshogoe as MD of HPE SA.
* The death of Libby Lloyd, an ICT specialist who did a lot of work for the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services.

Key African news

* Mixed year-end figures from Hidassie Telecom (Ethiopia), with revenue up but profit down.
* Good quarterly figures from Zamtel, with only the company's third declaration of profit since 2012.
* Direct Pay Online Group acquired Setcom, which operates the SID Instant EFT solution in SA.
* Bharti Airtel bought Millicom's Rwanda operations.
* Jamii Telecom, an ISP, has launched its mobile service named Faiba 4G Mobile, in Kenya, making it the fifth telecoms operator to be licensed in that country.
* Alpha Telecom Mali has finally become the West African nation's third mobile network operator.
* The appointments of Ajay Awasthi as CEO of Spectranet (Nigeria); and Richard Mullins as Acceleration's MD for the EMEA region.
* The resignation of David Venn, CEO of Spectranet.
* The departure of Matthew Kibby, VMware's Sub-Saharan Africa regional director.

Ireland will begin collecting EUR13 billion in back taxes from Apple early this year.

Key international news

* Accenture acquired Rothco, an Irish full-service creative agency; and Germany-based Mackevision, a global producer of 3D-enabled and immersive product content.
* Amazon bought Blink, a company that makes Internet-connected home security cameras.
* Apple purchased Shazam Entertainment, the UK-based start-up behind a popular music recognition app called Shaza, in a deal worth £300 million.
* Cisco acquired Cmpute.io, a privately held company operating in India, also known as 47Line Technologies. Cmpute.io's software solution analyses cloud-deployed workloads and consumption patterns, and identifies cost-optimisation strategies.
* Corning bought virtually all of 3M's Communication Markets Division for $900 million.
* Deutsche Telekom purchased Tele2's Dutch business.
* Equinix acquired Metronode, an Australian data centre company, for $791 million.
* Gemtek Technology bought Ampak Technology, a SIP module maker, in a move designed to enhance its presence in the IOT and cloud-enabled communication market.
* Iliad SA, in conjunction with NJJ, Anchorage Capital Group and Davidson Kempner, purchased a ruling stake in Ireland's Eir for EUR3.5 billion.
* Iron Mountain acquired the US operations of IO Data Centers, a colocation data centre services provider, for $1.3 billion. The company also bought OEC Records Management, a provider of records management, imaging services and offsite storage of media in India.
* Oracle purchased Australian-based Aconex, a specialist in Web-based project management software, for $1.19 billion.
* Prysmian, an Italian cable group, acquired US rival General Cable for $3 billion.
* Reliance Jio Infocomm bought the wireless assets of Reliance Communications for $3.75 billion.
* Salesforce.com purchased Attic Labs, the developer of a decentralised database.
* SS&C Technologies Holdings acquired DST Systems for $5.4 billion.
* UK-based rural broadband specialist Voneus bought superfast local ISP SugarNet.
* T-Mobile Austria purchased Liberty Global's Austrian operations, UPC Austria, for EUR1.9 billion.
* Telstra acquired VMtech, an Australian managed services provider.
* Thales, a French aerospace and defence technology group, bought Gemalto, the French chipmaker, for EUR5.6 billion.
* TTM Technologies purchased Anaren, a global designer and manufacturer of high-frequency RF and microwave microelectronics, components and assemblies, in a deal worth $775 million.
* Total System Services acquired Cayan, a payment technology firm, for $1.05 billion.
* Veeam bought N2W Software for $42.5 million, in a move that strengthens Veeam's position as a provider of availability for any app, any data, cloud, as well as its ability to protect Amazon Web Services deployments.
* Verizon purchased Niddel, a company offering machine-learning-based automated threat hunting.
* Alibaba Group Holding made a $200 million investment in India's largest online supermarket, Bigbasket; and an additional $3 billion investment in Ofo, the world's first and largest station-free bike share platform and mobile app.
* Apple made a $390 million investment in Finisar, in a move designed to increase production of chips that power high-profile iPhone X features including Face ID, Animojis and portrait-mode photos.
* Foxconn made a $435 million investment in China for products including optical communication modules, high-speed connectors, new-energy charging systems, optical electronics components, sensors and components for smartphones.
* JD.com and Tencent Holdings made an $863 million investment in Vipshop, a Chinese online retailer.
* Softbank made investments in Compass ($450 million), a real estate tech company; DoorDash ($300 million), a US food delivery firm; and OneWeb ($500 million), a satellite broadband provider.
* A Softbank-led group made a $9 billion (17%) investment in Uber.
* Vitruvian Partners, the independent European private equity firm, made a 30% investment in Bitdefender, a security software provider.
* Warburg Pincus, a global private equity firm, made a $350 million (20%) investment in Bharti Telemedia, the direct-to-home arm of Bharti Airtel.
* Ireland will begin collecting EUR13 billion in back taxes from Apple early this year, after both sides agreed to the terms of an escrow fund for the money.
* GoDaddy received a final win in a lengthy patent infringement case that sets a precedent for similar 'patent troll' claims against other technology companies.
* Toshiba and its chip business partner Western Digital have agreed to settle a long-running dispute over the embattled Japanese conglomerate's plans to sell its chip unit.
* The French government filed a complaint with the Paris Commerce Court against Amazon for abusing its dominant position with some suppliers.
* Spotify has been sued by Wixen Music Publishing for allegedly using thousands of songs without a licence.
* In the annual re-ranking of the Nasdaq-100 Index, ASML Holding, Cadence Design Systems, Synopsys, Take-Two Interactive Software and Workday were added; but Akamai Technologies, Discovery Communications and Viacom were removed.
* Altice is hiving off its US operations as a completely separate entity.
* The Chinese government has selected China Telecom as the company to invest a third mobile operator in the Philippines. It will have a 40% stake in the new company, the maximum permitted by Philippine law for foreign investment, and will compete with Globe Telecom and PLDT Telecom.
* Alphabet's Google has agreed to a patent licensing deal with Tencent Holdings as it looks for ways to expand in China where many of its products, such as the app store, search engine and e-mail service are blocked by regulators.
* LiLAC, a spin-off from Liberty Global, has started trading as an independent company.
* Opera Software ASA has changed its name to Otello Corporation.
* Nokia has signed a multi-year smartphone patent licence deal with China's Huawei, its arch rival in the networks business, which gives it royalty agreements with all of the world's largest handset makers.
* Avaya Holdings has successfully completed its debt restructuring and emerged from Chapter 11.
* Music streaming company Spotify and the music arm of China's Tencent Holdings will buy minority stakes in each other ahead of the Swedish firm's expected stock market listing this year.
* Excellent quarterly results from Aehr Test Systems (back in the black) and Micron Technology.
* Very good quarterly figures from Adobe, ASML Holding, Boxlight (back in the black) and WNS Holdings.
* Very good half-year numbers from Micro Focus.
* Very good year-end figures from Veeam Software.
* Good quarterly numbers from Accenture, Broadcom (back in the black), CalAmp (back in the black), FactSet Research, Red Hat and Veeva Systems.
* Satisfactory quarterly results from Barracuda Networks, Ciena, HIS Markit, Oracle, Paychex, PTC (back in the black), Reliance Jio (back in the black), SAIC, Shaw Communications, Synnex, Verifone Systems (back in the black) and Verint Systems (back in the black).
* Mediocre quarterly results from Finisar.
* Mixed quarterly figures from Bandwidth, Jabil Circuit, Methode Electronics and Zenzar Technologies, with revenue up but net income down; and from Analogic, IEC Electronics, Progress Software (back in the black), Volt Information Sciences and VOXX International, with revenue down but net income up.
* Mixed half-year figures from Dixons Carphone, with revenue up but net income down.
* Quarterly losses from Adtran, Atlassian, BlackBerry, Cloudera, Comtech Telecommunications, Coupa Software, ForeScout Technologies, IBM, Keysight Technologies, Mellanox, ModusLink, MongoDB, Okta, Renren, SeaChange International, SecureWorks, Sigma Designs and Tintri.
* The appointments of Peter Altabef as chairman of Unisys; Cristiano R Amon as president of Qualcomm; Erik Carlson as CEO of Dish Network; Christopher Chapman as interim co-CEO of Diebold Nixdorf; Teresa Elder as CEO of Wideopenwest; Alexander Greiffenclau as CEO of Digicel; Maximo Ibarra as CEO of KPN; Stephanie Miller as CEO of Intertrust; Salil Parekh as CEO of Infosys; Victor Peng as CEO of Xilinx; Inge Smidts as CEO of Cable & Wireless Communications; and Juergen Wunram as interim co-CEO of Diebold Nixdorf.
* The resignations of Colm Delves, CEO of Digicel; Charlie Ergen, founder and CEO of Dish Network; Andreas Mattes, CEO of Diebold Nixdorf; John Reid, CEO of Cable & Wireless Communications; and Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Alphabet.
* The retirements of Steve Cochran, CEO of Wideopenwest; and Moshe Gavrielov, CEO of Xilinx.
* The death of Jim Shaw, an ex-CEO of Shaw Communications.
* A planned IPO on the Shanghai Stock Exchange by Foxconn Electronics' subsidiary Foxconn Industrial Internet.
* An IPO filing for Nasdaq from Hologram USA Networks, a holographic next-generation production company that integrates hologram, virtual reality, 360-degree video and streaming video to provide distinctive and original entertainment experiences to a diverse, young and socially-conscious global audience.
* An IPO filing for Nasdaq from One Stop Systems, a firm that designs and manufactures high-speed computing systems for high performance computing applications that require fast processing and storage of large information data sets.
* IPO filings in New York from Dropbox and Spotify.
* A good IPO on Nasdaq by Boxlight, a technology company that provides educational products and solutions.
* A good IPO on Nasdaq by Casa Systems, a provider of products that help customers provide and manage broadband connectivity.
* A good IPO on Nasdaq by iClick Interactive Asia Group, China's largest independent online marketing technology platform.

Research results and predictions

EMEA/Africa:
* Africa's smartphone shipments for Q317 reached 21.7 million units, spurred by ongoing economic recoveries in some of the continent's major markets, although year-on-year shipments were down 5.5%, according to IDC.

Worldwide:
* Worldwide enterprise security spending will total $96.3 billion in 2018, an increase of 8% from 2017, according to Gartner.
* Worldwide server revenue increased 16% in Q317, while shipments grew 5.1% from Q316, according to Gartner.
* Worldwide semiconductor revenue totalled $419.7 billion in 2017, a 22.2% increase from 2016, according to Gartner.
* Worldwide IT spending is projected to total $3.7 trillion in 2018, an increase of 4.5% from 2017, according to Gartner.
* Worldwide spending on the Internet of things (IOT) is forecast to reach $772.5 billion in 2018, an increase of 14.6% over the $674 billion that will be spent in 2017, according to IDC. It forecasts a CAGR of 14.4% through the 2017-2021 period, surpassing the $1 trillion mark in 2020 and reaching $1.1 trillion in 2021.
* Worldwide proliferation of virtual reality and augmented reality headsets is expected to continue as shipments reach 59.2 million in 2021, up from 9.6 million in 2017 according to IDC.
* Global semiconductor revenue totalled $113.9 billion in Q317, up from $101.7 billion in Q217, according to IHS Markit.
* Worldwide shipments of traditional PCs (desktop, notebook, and workstation) totalled 70.6 million units in 4Q17, recording a 0.7% year-on-year growth, with HP re-taking the number one slot from Lenovo.

Stock market changes

* JSE All share index: Up 2.5% (all-time high reached during this period)
* FTSE100: Up 5.9% (all-time high reached during this period)
* DAX: Up 4.5%
* NYSE (Dow): Up 7.2% (all-time high reached during this period)
* S&P 500: Up 6.4% (all-time high reached during this period)
* Nasdaq: Up 7.1% (all-time high reached during this period)
* Nikkei225: Up 4.3% (a 26-year high reached during this period)
* Hang Seng: Up 10.9% (all-time high reached during this period)
* Shanghai: Up 5.1% (highest weekend close since late 2015)

Look out for

International:
* Details of the long-awaited IPO by Xiaomi.
* A possible IPO from Softbank's Japanese Wireless unit.

Africa:
* The awarding of a fourth mobile network operating licence in Angola.

South Africa:
* Developments regarding the future of Broadband Infraco.

Final word

* Fortune magazine recently published its Top 20 Business People of the Year. Included from a technology perspective were:
* 1: Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia
* 3: Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com
* 4: Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com
* 7: Huateng Ma, CEO of Tencent Holdings
* 8: Dan Schulman, CEO of PayPal
* 10: Francisco D'Souza, CEO of Cognizant Technology Solutions
* 13: Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook
* 14: Shantanu Narayen, CEO of Adobe

See also