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Big deals for IT

Multimillion-rand and -dollar acquisitions and deals ruled the news last week.

There was no earth-shattering news from the international ICT world last week. At home, the Fujitsu Siemens BEE deal stole the local ICT headline space.

Key local news of the past week

* The R120 million acquisition by Bytes Communications Systems, part of BTG and now part of the Altron Group, of Intelleca Voice and Mobile, a contact centre and customer interaction company. Intelleca was formed in 1998 as an IT and telecommunications solutions provider and is managed by CEO Michael Renzon.
* The R11.1 million acquisition by Silverbridge Holdings of One4s 'N Zeros Professional Services, a consulting company with a focus on the life assurance industry.
* The 25% plus one share investment by Thuthukani Investment Consortium (Thuthukani IT Services and Amava Holdings) in Fujitsu Siemens Computers SA. This BEE deal is one of the first to be concluded with a tier one multinational computer vendor. Thuthukani IT Services already has an investment in Atio, and Amava Holdings has investments in several small IT companies.
* Sahara Computers has entered a joint venture with Cyret Technologies to form Cyret Technologies South Africa, which will be headed by CEO Rajan Deshpande. US-based Cyret Technologies is a global consulting and solutions company specialising in value-added service delivery around JD Edwards and Oracle-based implementation solutions.
* T-Systems won a R50 million contract with Negotiated Benefits Consultants to manage the communications between all of its locations in SA.
* The emergence of a new privately-owned, but US venture capital-backed, telecommunications company, PrimeTel, run by Michael Alter. The company promises to offer cheaper calls and reduce corporate phone bills. Alter, a Briton, helped to establish telecommunications businesses in Chile and was CEO of Carrier 116, one of that country's first competitive carriers, across the network of ITXC, a leading provider of worldwide Internet voice services.

Key African news

* Nigeria's Globacom has been awarded the sixth mobile licence in Ghana. This is the second licence it has been given in West Africa outside its home territory, having been given a licence in Benin previously.
* The appointment of Rifle-Shot Performance Holdings as the African VAR of CDC Software's process manufacturing solutions. CDC Software is a subsidiary of China-based CDC Corporation, a provider of industry-specific enterprise software applications and business services.
* The resignation of Geoffrey Shimanyula, MD of UUNET Kenya.

Key international news

Through the addition Navic, Microsoft's advertising platform will now be able to facilitate enhanced digital advertising across both online and offline environments.

Paul Booth, MD, Global Research Partners

* The $67.8 million acquisition by Alcatel-Lucent of Motive, a provider of service management software for broadband and mobile data services and an Alcatel-Lucent partner for the past three years. The companies have more than 40 joint customers, including AT&T, BT, Swisscom, Vodafone Portugal and Verizon Communications.
* Microsoft bought Navic Networks, a provider of advertising solutions. Navic's technologies include campaign management tools that use relevant data to optimise the delivery and placement of targeted interactive television media. Through the addition Navic, Microsoft's advertising platform will now be able to facilitate enhanced digital advertising across both online and offline environments.
* SAP AG purchased privately-held US-based Visiprise, a provider of manufacturing execution software solutions. The take-over is aimed at providing discrete manufacturers with a complete 'plant' solution. Visiprise has been a SAP partner for many years and is a natural for acquisition.
* The acquisition by Tata Communications (previously VSNL) of a 50% stake in China Enterprise Communications (CEC), a telecommunications and IT services provider. CEC is headquartered in Beijing and was recently awarded a nationwide IP-VPN service licence by the Ministry of Information Industry, the first such concession to be granted to a non-facilities-based service provider. CEC has network reach throughout China, with no regional restrictions on its service capabilities. CEC provides VPN connectivity in 347 cities in China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. This reach complements Tata Communications' VPN presence in 120 Indian cities and 19 other major business capitals in North America, Europe and Asia. As it stands, CEC is majority owned by state-owned investment arm China International Trust and Investment Corporation.
* Texas Instruments (TI) bought Innovative Design Solutions, an analogue chipmaker and a TI partner for 10 years.
* The $25 million acquisition by Tibco of Insightful, a provider of statistical data analysis and data mining solutions. This move will consolidate Tibco's BI portfolio following its acquisition of privately-owned Spotfire last year.
* The $53 million investment by venture capitalists in LinkedIn, a business-networking Web site, that is now valued at $1 billion.
* HP is streamlining its printing division into three business units (it currently has five units). The laserjet and commercial printer units will be combined, as will the inkjet and consumer supplies units.
* Intel will spin-off its Solar Energy Technology into a new start-up business, SpectraWatt, in which there is also an investment from a major investment company, the PCG Clean Energy and Technology Fund and German-based Solon AG, one of Europe's largest solar module manufacturers.
* Motorola has pulled out of its joint venture with Wipro Technologies.
* Good quarterly numbers from Adobe, with profit up over 40%.
* Satisfactory quarterly results from Progress Software, although profit up nearly 60%.
* Mediocre quarterly results from Tata Communications, with both revenue and profit well down from the same period last year.
* The appointment of JT Wang, chairman of Acer, as CEO of the Acer Group.

Look out for

* A $1.5 billion merger of the two large design companies: Cadence Design Systems and Mentor Graphics.
* The bidders for a stake in the mobile devices division of Huawei, which is valued at $3 billion. The unit is expected to have revenue of $3.5 billion this year, with net profit of about $400 million.

Research results and predictions

* According to Gartner, the worldwide security software market increased 19.8% in 2007 to reach $10.4 billion. Symantec remained the market leader followed by McAfee and Trend Micro.
* According to Gartner, the worldwide business intelligence market grew 13% in 2007 to over $5.1 billion. The top players in 2008 will look different since Business Objects, Cognos and Hyperion were all acquired during 2007.

Stock market changes

* JSE All share index: Down 1.5%
* Nasdaq: Down 2%
* Top SA share movements: AdaptIT (-13.6%), African Cellular Towers (-10.7%), Beget Holdings (-25%), CompuClearing (+14.3%), FoneWorx -14.1%), Ifca technologies (+38.5%), Labat Africa (-20%), Stella Vista (-11.1%), TCS (+13%) and Zaptronix (-16.7%)

Final word

I am overseas on business and so my next column will appear on Monday, 7 July, but as usual, will cover the two-week intervening period.

Paul Booth

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

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