Booth's Bites

Accenture buys three more companies

Ireland-based Enterprise System Partners, Danish firm Hjaltelin Stahl and What If join the Accenture family.

Read time 6min 50sec
Paul Booth.
Paul Booth.

Three more acquisitions by Accenture dominated the international ICT market last week.

At home, MTN's results and its planned sell-offs were the main local stories.

Key local news

* Satisfactory interim numbers from Alviva Holdings, with revenue up 20.1% and profit up 2.2%.
* Satisfactory year-end figures from MTN Group, with revenue up 1.3% and profit up 110.5%.
* Crossfin Technology, an African fintech holding company, invested in Retail Capital, a South African-based provider of alternative business funding to the SME sector.
* Microsoft SA has officially opened its local data centres in Johannesburg and Cape Town, aimed at driving public cloud, artificial intelligence and edge implementations across the African continent.
* T-Systems SA has been rated a B-BBEE level one contributor in terms of the revised Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act Codes of Good Practice, by SANAS-accredited rating agency, EmpowerLogic.

Key African news

* Econet Wireless Zimbabwe acquired MTN Group's 53% stake in Botswana's Mascom for $300 million.
* The appointments of Dennis Keko Kahini as CEO of Liquid Telecom Uganda; and Eric Law as VP of EMEA Sales at Ruckus Networks.

Key international news

* Accenture acquired Ireland-based Enterprise System Partners, a consulting and manufacturing services provider for the life sciences industry; Hjaltelin Stahl, a leading Danish creative agency known for its ability to create unique and consistent cross-media experiences for its clients; and What If, a privately-owned innovation firm that uses an experimentation-driven approach to help clients incubate new products, services, business models and organisational cultures.
* Affle, a Microsoft-backed consumer intelligence company, bought Singapore-based online-to-offline platform Shoffr.
* Cognizant purchased Ireland-based Meritsoft, a privately held financial software company.
* Comcast acquired BluVector, a company that uses advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide cyber security protection to companies and government agencies.
* Core BTS bought SADA Systems' Microsoft practice.
* Dialog Semiconductor purchased Silicon Motion's mobile communications business for $45 million, expanding its presence in the market for low-power connected devices.
* Global Payments acquired Sentral Education in Australia, further expanding its educational market capabilities.
* Juniper Networks bought Mist Systems, a wireless networking start-up launched by former Cisco Systems executives, in a deal worth $405 million.
* ManTech International purchased Kforce's federal government solutions business, Kforce Government Solutions, for $115 million.
* Nintex, the global standard for process management and automation, acquired robotic process automation (RPA) provider EnableSoft, maker of Foxtrot RPA.
* Linkage Technologies, a global leader in PCB sourcing, bought TTM Technologies' Viasource PCB broker service.

Ride-hailing platform Taxify has changed its name to Bolt.

* NTT Security purchased WhiteHat Security in a move aimed at better supporting customers on the digital transformation journey with application security and DevSecOps capabilities.
* Okta acquired Azuqua, a leader in no-code, cloud-based business application integration and workflow automation.
* The SurveyMonkey bought Usabilla, a Netherlands-based maker of software that collects customer feedback about Web site issues, in a deal worth $80 million.
* Veritas purchased Aptare in a bid to become a leading provider of technology to monitor and manage both secondary and primary storage environments.
* Softbank's Vision Fund made a $1.5 billion investment in Grab, the ride-hailing group.
* Qualcomm has kicked off a patent challenge to Apple, capping off a two-year legal strategy to put pressure on the iPhone maker before a major anti-trust lawsuit between the two goes to trial in April.
* Huawei Technologies has sued the US government, saying a law limiting its US business was unconstitutional, ratcheting up its fight back against a government bent on closing it out of global markets.
* AT&T is restructuring its WarnerMedia business, as it girds for a streaming video battle with Netflix and Walt Disney.
* Ride-hailing platform Taxify has changed its name to Bolt.
* Xerox will implement a structure in which the printer maker will become a wholly owned unit of a new holding company.
* Excellent quarterly results from CooTek (back in the black), Huya and Upland Software (back in the black).
* Very good quarterly figures from BEST, and Weibo.
* Good quarterly numbers from ChipMOS Technologies, Ciena (back in the black) and Descartes Systems.
* Good year-end numbers from Vivotek.
* Satisfactory quarterly results from Alaska Communications (back in the black), Magic Software, Methode Electronics, Sina and Tech Data.
* Satisfactory year-end figures from Apex International.
* Mediocre quarterly results from WideOpenWest.
* Mediocre year-end numbers from Telecom Argentina.
* Mixed quarterly figures from SailPoint Technologies, with revenue up but net income down; and from IDT (but back in the black), Stratasys (but back in the black), Transact Technologies (but back in the black) and TTEC Holdings (but back in the black), with revenue down but net income up.
* Mixed year-end figures from Chicony Electronics and Informa, with revenue up but net income down; and from Radiant Opto-Electronics, with revenue down but net income up.
* Quarterly losses from Ambarella, Cardlytics, FocalTech Systems, Guidewire Software, ID Systems, Identiv, Inseego, International Game Technology, inTest, Marvell Technology Group, MicroVision, Okta, Qutoutiao, red violet, Volt Information Sciences, Yext and YY.
* A full-year loss from FIH Mobile.
* A planned IPO this year from Chinese drone maker EHang.

Research results and predictions

* The overall tablet market in EMEA declined 9.6% year-on-year, shipping 14.1 million units in 4Q18, according to IDC.
* The MEA personal computing devices market, which is made up of desktops, notebooks, workstations and tablets, declined 5% year-on-year in Q418, according to IDC.

According to IDC:
* Worldwide spending on blockchain solutions is forecast to be nearly $2.9 billion in 2019, an increase of 88.7% from the $1.5 billion spent in 2018.
* The worldwide market for wearable devices grew 31.4% during 4Q18, reaching a new high of 59.3 million units.
* Worldwide smartphone volumes are forecast to fall by 0.8% in 2019, with volumes dipping to 1.39 billion. However, the smartphone market will begin to pick up momentum this year, with year-over-year growth of 2.3% expected in the second half of the year. Over the long-term, smartphone shipments are forecast to reach 1.54 billion units in 2023.
* Vendor revenue in the worldwide server market increased 12.6% year-over-year to $23.6 billion during 4Q18. Worldwide server shipments increased 5% year-over-year to just under three million units in 4Q18.

Stock market changes

* JSE All share index: Down 1.3%
* FTSE100: Flat (marginally down)
* DAX: Down 1.2%
* NYSE (Dow): Down 2.2%
* S&P 500: Down 2.2%
* Nasdaq: Down 2.5%
* Nikkei225: Down 2.7%
* Hang Seng: Down 2%
* Shanghai: Down 0.8%

Look out for

* The buyer for South Korean gaming firm Nexo, with Tencent and South Korea's biggest chat operator Kakao among five bidders shortlisted.
* Altice USA selling its Lightpath fibre unit.

South Africa:
* More news from MTN regarding its sell-offs.

Final word

The UK's Financial Times has just released its FT 1000, which lists the European companies that achieved the highest compound annual growth rate in revenue between 2014 and 2017.

Included in the top 100, from a technology perspective, are:
* 3: Taxify, an Estonia-based technology firm
* 4: Solectric, a German technology company
* 6: Housekeep, a UK-based technology firm
* 9: Darktrace, a UK-based cyber security firm
* 18: Tantal, a German e-commerce company
* 23: TenderHut, a Polish IT services and projects company
* 24: AND Digital, a UK-based technology firm
* 27: Anteco Systems, UK-based technology firm
* 28: Tooplox, a Polish technology firm
* 31: One Retail Group, a UK-based e-commerce company
* 38 Schuh Benner, a German e-commerce firm
* 42 Laser Wire Solutions, a UK-based technology company
* 43 Unify Communications, a UK telecoms firm
* 44 Shokes, a German e-commerce firm
* 45 Vmway, an Italy-based technology company

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