SoftBank pumps billions into world’s major tech firms

Adobe, Alphabet, Amazon, Microsoft, Netflix, Nvidia, PayPal and Zoom are among the 25 companies into which SoftBank has invested a total of $3.9 billion.
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The coronavirus pandemic continues to dominate most things, including the technology industry, and continues to have a significant effect on quarterly results. However, the IPO market is flourishing and acquisitions continue apace.

South African highlights

  • Ayo Technology Solutions has entered into an agreement to acquire Kathea Communication and 60% of Kathea Energy for about R89.8 million.
  • Datatec’s Logicalis Latin America has acquired a 30% stake in Brazil-based Kumulus, a specialist in Microsoft cloud and data managed services.
  • Liquid Telecom SA has announced a strategic re-positioning as Liquid Intelligent Technologies.
  • South African investigators are seeking to recover more than R400 million from SAP for two government contracts they allege were entered into unlawfully.
  • Standard Bank has acquired a 35% equity stake in digital escrow company TradeSafe Escrow.
  • The announcements of new CEOs at MTN Group and Net1 UEPS Technologies.

African highlights

  • Ethiopia’s ECA has suspended plans to privatise that country’s telecommunications industry.
  • Kenya’s government has gazetted a new ICT policy, which mandates that foreign ICT companies facilitate 30% local ownership.
  • Plans are afoot for MTN to exit the Middle East and focus on its burgeoning operations on the continent.
  • Telkom Kenya has called off its merger with Bharti Airtel’s Kenyan unit.

International highlights

  • Accenture has acquired CreativeDrive, a content production specialist; and Organize Cloud Labs, a Brazil-based company operating as ServiceNow's first Elite partner in Latin America.
  • Alibaba, Xiaomi and WuXi Biologics will enter the Hang Seng index next month, broadening Hong Kong's traditionally financial services-dominated index.
  • Alphabet has made a $450 million investment in ADT, a home security firm.
  • American Virtual Cloud Technologies and Ribbon Communications have entered into a definitive agreement for AVC Technologies to acquire Kandy Communications, an industry-leading proprietary, multi-tenant, highly-scalable cloud communications platform.

South African investigators are seeking to recover more than R400 million from SAP for two government contracts they allege were entered into unlawfully.

  • Apple has become the first company to reach a market capitalisation of $2 trillion and has acquired Spaces, an AR technology start-up that was a former project of DreamWorks Animation.
  • A federal judge on Monday blocked Apple from shutting down an Epic Games tool, Unreal Engine, a key graphics technology that is relied on by hundreds of other app makers but had become the subject of an anti-trust battle between the companies; although Apple was spared from having to immediately reinstate Epic Games’ Fortnite on its App Store.
  • Aveva will buy OSIsoft in a $5 billion deal.
  • Bain Capital has invested $750 million in Nutanix, a developer of cloud software for enterprises.
  • ByteDance has acquired Caicloud, a Chinese cloud computing platform.
  • Cisco has agreed to buys BabbleLabs, a provider of noise removal and speech enhancement technology.
  • Cognizant has entered into an agreement to purchase Tin Roof Software, a privately held custom software and digital product development services company.
  • ConvergeOne has acquired Altivon, a contact centre services provider.
  • Datadog has bought Undefined Labs, a testing and observability company for developer workflows.
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average will add Salesforce to its index.
  • Epic games, the maker of Fortnite, has sued Apple and Google after removal of that game from their app stores.
  • EQT has agreed to purchase EdgeConneX, a large data centre provider, for between $2.5 billion and $3 billion.
  • Equinix has agreed to an all-cash transaction of $161 million for the Indian operations of GPX Global Systems, one of the main providers of carrier-neutral edge data centre services in Africa and South Asia.
  • Facebook France has accepted paying more than €100 million in taxes, including a penalty relating to its accounting years before 2018; and has received a federal court's preliminary approval for a $650 million settlement related to a lawsuit that alleged the social media giant gathered biometric data of millions of its users without their consent.
  • Genasys has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Amika Mobile, a Canada-based enterprise software provider of critical event situational awareness, communication and control products.
  • Globant has acquired gA, a digital and cloud transformation services company.
  • Google, Qualcomm and Nokia Technologies have invested in HMD Global, the maker of Nokia-branded smartphones.
  • FARO Technologies has acquired Advanced Technical Solutions in Scandinavia, a Swedish-based leader in 3D digital twin solution technology.
  • Insight Partners has invested in Keeper Security, a cyber security specialist; and Mural, a digital workspace for visual collaboration in the enterprise.
  • Motorola Solutions has purchased Pelco, a global provider of video security solutions.
  • Palo Alto Networks has agreed to buy The Crypsis Group, an incident response, risk management and digital forensics consulting firm ($265 million).
  • KKR has reportedly made a binding offer for 38% of TIM’s secondary copper and fibre networks.
  • Liberty Global has agreed to buy Sunrise Communications Group in a deal valued at $7.5 billion.
  • Lumina Networks has announced it has begun the process of shutting down the business.
  • Orange has signed a preliminary agreement with the Romanian government to take over the fixed-line operations of incumbent Telekom Romania.
  • Pegatron has announced plans to merge with its metal chassis-making affiliate Casetek Holdings.
  • Presidio has acquired Coda Global, a cloud consulting specialist.
  • Qlik, a Thoma Bravo company, has acquired the assets and IP of Knarr Analytics, an innovative start-up that provides real-time collaboration, sophisticated data exploration and insight capture capabilities.
  • Silver Sun Technologies has purchased Prairie Technology Solutions Group, a managed services provider.
  • Smartsheet has agreed to buy Brandfolder, the creator of a digital content and brand management platform ($155 million).
  • SiFive, an ARM rival and a start-up working to commercialise an open source semiconductor technology, has raised an additional $60 million in funding from investors, including SK Hynix and Saudi Aramco.
  • SAP has acquired a minority stake in Vistex, an ISV partner that develops go-to-market, pricing, rights and royalty management, and other applications that work with SAP’s core ERP software.
  • Chinese artificial intelligence company Shanghai Zhizhen Intelligent Network Technology (aka Xiao-i) has filed a lawsuit against Apple, alleging it has infringed on its patents.
  • Sharp, a unit of Taiwan's Foxconn, will spin-off its low-margin liquid crystal display and camera module businesses, both of which have Apple as a client.
  • The Softbank Group has invested $3.9 billion in Adobe, Alphabet, Amazon, Microsoft, Netflix, Nvidia, PayPal and Zoom Video Communications.
  • The T2 Tech Group, an IT consulting and management services provider with a heavy focus on the healthcare industry, has acquired Plano’s patient access services business.
  • Thoma Bravo has agreed to purchase Foundation Software, a provider of accounting software and payroll services for small and mid-sized construction contractors; and it has agreed to sell Ellie Mae to Intercontinental Exchange in a deal that values Ellie Mae at $11 billion.
  • Take-Two Interactive Software plans to buy mobile developer Playdots for $192 million.
  • Tencent Holdings has made a small investment in Voodoo, a French mobile games company.
  • TTEC Holdings has agreed to acquire VoiceFoundry, a global partner of Amazon Web Services, creating an end-to-end CX delivery solution for Amazon Connect.
  • Thoma Bravo-backed Veriforce has purchased ComplyWorks, a Canadian developer of compliance management software.
  • Uber will buy UK-based Autocab, which sells booking and dispatch software to private hire firms.
  • The UK’s Supreme Court has unanimously dismissed appeals by Huawei and ZTE in patent disputes with Unwired Planet International and Conversant Wireless Licensing.
  • The Warner Music Group has acquired IMGN Media, a creator and curator of social media content focused on gaming, entertainment and related sectors.
  • Zynga has entered into an agreement to buy Turkey-based Rollic, a mobile games developer and publisher.
  • The announcement of new CEOs at Avnet, BlackLine, DAZAN Zhone Solutions, Infinera, Poly, SMART Global Holdings, Sanmina and Workday.
  • An IPO filing in Hong Kong from the Ant Group, Alibaba’s fintech arm.
  • An IPO filing in Japan from Kioxia Holdings, the memory chipmaker spun out of Toshiba in 2018.
  • IPO filings for China’s Nasdaq-like STAR market from the Ant Group and VeriSilicon Microelectronics, a Chinese electronics company.
  • IPO filing for Nasdaq from JFrog and Sumo Logic.
  • IPO filings for the NYSE from Amwell, Asana, Palantir, Snowflake and Unity Software.
  • IPOs on Nasdaq by BigCommerce, Duck Creek Technologies, IBEX and Rackspace.

Stock market changes for August:

  • JSE All share index: Up 0.6%
  • FTSE100: Up 1.1%
  • DAX: Up 5.8%
  • NYSE (Dow): Up 8.4%
  • S&P 500: Up 7.2% (highest close during this period)
  • Nasdaq: Up 8.8% (highest close during this period)
  • Nikkei225: Up 5.4%
  • Hang Seng: Up 3.4%
  • Shanghai: Up 2.8% (highest close since November 2017 achieved during this time)

Research highlight

  • According to Gartner, worldwide government IT spending is forecast to total $438 billion in 2020, a decrease of 0.6% from 2019.

Final word

Fortune recently published its latest Global 500 list. Included in the top 50 are:

  • 9: Amazon (was 13)
  • 12: Apple (was 11)
  • 19: Samsung Electronics (was 15)
  • 22: AT&T (was 25)
  • 26: Hon Hai Precision Industry (Foxconn) (was 23)
  • 29: Alphabet (was 37)
  • 44: Verizon Communications (was 43)
  • 47: Microsoft (was 50)

In addition, Flex, Micron Technology and SK Hynix dropped out from the top 500; however, there were no new technology entrants.

Other key movements included:

  • at 102 (was 139)
  • Alibaba at 132 (was 182)
  • Facebook at 144 (was 184)
  • Tencent Holdings at 197 (was 237)
  • Canon at 380 (was 345)
  • Xiaomi at 422 (was 468)
See also