Displaying items by tag: acquisition
Orange acquires 54% stake in Telekom Romania
Orange Romania announced that it signed a deal to acquire a controlling 54% stake in Telekom Romania, in a transaction that will significantly accelerate Orange’s strategy to become the number one choice of customers in the Romanian market.
Orange said it agreed to pay EUR 268 million for the majority stake in the fixed business, on a debt- and cash-free basis. The entire company is valued at EUR 497 million.
Orange is already the largest mobile operator in Romania, with EUR 1.1 billion in sales last year. The deal takes the mobile operator into the fixed market, with the aim to become the preferred choice of customers for convergent services on the Romanian market, both for the consumer and business segment, Orange said. The transaction will also generate significant synergies, which will result from the combined sale of services to existing customers, as well as the optimization of the network, including economies of scale and scope.
Telekom is Romania’s second largest player in fixed telecoms with revenues of EUR 622 million in 2019. Through its own network infrastructure, TKR provides fixed voice, broadband and pay-TV services to 5 million customers and its approximately 90,000-km fiber network connects some 3 million households. It also provides fixed-mobile convergent services to around 881,000 subscribers through a MVNO contract with Telekom Romania Mobile. These customers will migrate to Orange Romania’s network following completion of the transaction.
The transaction's closure is subject to usual preconditions, in particular approval by the European Commission and other competent authorities. The deal is expected to be completed in H2 2021. Both companies will continue to operate independently until the deal's approval and completion.
Liudmila Climoc, CEO, Orange Romania, commented: “This is a significant milestone for the Romanian telecom market that will enhance its attractiveness both in terms of converged telecoms services and high quality infrastructure, while increasing competition. It will provide the opportunity to scale up innovative convergent services, bringing broader benefits and wider choices to the customers and also to the country’s digital economy sustainable development. Orange Romania’s and Telekom Romania Communications’ network complementarity will allow us to bring together not only customers and teams, but also the best of expertise in terms of quality of service and future-proof mobile and fixed networks infrastructure.”
TikTok rejects Microsoft, chooses Oracle as “tech partner”
ByteDance has rejected Microsoft’s offer for its TikTok operations in the US and has reportedly chosen Oracle as “trusted tech partner”.
The Oracle bid would next need approval from the White House and Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, with both parties under the belief it would meet US data security concerns.
TikTok has been at the center of a diplomatic storm between the US and China, and President Donald Trump has given Americans a deadline to stop doing business with TikTok's Chinese parent company ByteDance – effectively compelling a sale of the app to a US company.
Microsoft had indicated at the beginning of August that it was interested in acquiring TikTok's US operations, but later announced that bid had been rejected.
Microsoft expressed disappointment in the rejection and said it was confident its proposal would have been good for TikTok users, while protection national security interests.
"ByteDance let us know today they would not be selling TikTok's US operations to Microsoft," the US tech giant said in a statement.
"We are confident our proposal would have been good for TikTok's users, while protecting national security interests," it added.
Under the deal with Oracle, at least some of ByteDance’s existing investors will get stakes in the venture. These investors include Sequoia Capital and General Atlantic. Meanwhile, Walmart said in a statement that it is thinking of joining Oracle and that it is still in talks with ByteDance “leadership and other interested parties.”
Sources said Oracle is mainly interested in TikTok to boost its cloud-computing business. For Microsoft, owning TikTok would have helped the company build its presence among everyday consumers, and given it more data on young users.
Downloaded 175 million times in the United States, TikTok is used by as many as a billion people worldwide to make quirky, short-form videos on their cellphones. It has repeatedly denied sharing data with Beijing.
TikTok meanwhile has filed a lawsuit challenging the crackdown by the US government, contending that Trump's order was a misuse of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act because the platform is not "an unusual and extraordinary threat."
Controversially Trump has demanded that the US government get a cut of any deal, which critics contend appears unconstitutional and akin to extortion.
Bidding for TikTok comes amid a broader deterioration of relations between the world's top two economies in recent months, with the US and China locked in fierce recriminations over trade disputes, human rights and the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.
Cisco plans new acquisition
Cisco announced its intent to acquire privately-held CloudCherry based in Salt Lake City, UT. The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of Cisco's fiscal year 2020, subject to customary closing conditions and required approvals.
CloudCherry is a Customer Experience Management (CEM) company that provides customer journey mapping, out-of-the-box integrations, and predictive analytics. Predictive analytics help contact center agents make real-time journey modifications such as up and cross-selling, discounts, service modifications and more, to meet customer needs and improve loyalty. Together, Cisco and CloudCherry will help companies transform their contact center from delivering reactive care to providing predictive support and move from isolated customer interactions to cohesive, engaging experiences for improved business outcomes.
The new cognitive and collaborative contact center uses artificial intelligence and machine learning, which empowers agents to provide more personalized customer experiences, allows companies to use data to its fullest extent, and extends the power of cloud to hosted and on-premises deployments. CloudCherry’s open API platform facilitates this by simplifying how customer data is ingested from systems of records, transactional data, and other data sources – all in real time – to help contact center agents close the feedback loop and improve customer loyalty and satisfaction.
“We're thrilled to add CloudCherry's market leading customer experience management technology to our collaboration portfolio,” said Vasili Triant, vice president and general manager, Cisco Contact Center Solutions. “This is the next step in realizing our vision for cognitive collaboration in the contact center, enabling the delivery of the best, most personalized customer experiences, ultimately improving customer loyalty and lifetime value.”
EU approves IBM's $34 bn Red Hat acquisition
The EU's powerful anti-trust authority cleared the buyout by IBM of open source software company Red Hat, one of the biggest tech mergers in history which the computing giant said would enhance its cloud offerings.
Qualcomm touts $1bn cost reduction strategy to fend off Broadcom
In a letter to stockholders ahead of its 2018 Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be held on March 6, Qualcomm highlighted details of a $1 billion strategy which aims to generate “significant value” for investors in the near term, in the wake of Broadcom making moves to acquire Qualcomm, which the company has labeled “opportunistic” and “aggressive”.
“Today we are executing a strategy that we are confident will continue to generate significant value for our stockholders in the near term with additional upside,” said the Qualcomm letter to stockholders. The company said it is committed to a $1 billion cost reduction program, and is also committed to creating value from its acquisition of NXP.
Qualcomm also said it expects to create value from resolving current licensing disputes, namely with Apple. “As is widely known, we are currently in litigation with Apple,” the letter reads. “What many stockholders do not realize is that we have binding long-term license agreements with Apple’s contract manufacturers. But Apple has required its contract manufacturers to cease paying us despite these existing binding contracts.”
Apple now continues to utilize Qualcomm’s intellectual property for its own profit without paying, the letter adds. “In this litigation, Apple is seeking to avoid paying fair value for Qualcomm’s intellectual property, rejecting terms that are well established in the industry. Apple has often used such litigation to try to renegotiate with its suppliers, and Qualcomm has taken legal action to enforce our contracts.”
Qualcomm also highlighted its leadership position in 5G, which is in the early stages of transforming multiple industries, including mobile, IoT, automotive and many others. This is why Broadcom’s acquisition bid was rejected, Qualcomm said, labeling it an “opportunistic” with a “highly uncertain – perhaps impossible – regulatory path to completion.”
The potential transaction would require clearance from at least a dozen antitrust regulators throughout the world, including the U.S., EU, China, Korea, Japan and others, as well as from national security agencies. Regulatory review would likely take at least 18 months to complete, and would likely require meaningful divestitures, ongoing restrictions on the combined entity’s conduct, potentially contradictory and irreconcilable demands from regulators, and the transaction could be blocked outright.
Qualcomm issued a statement on December 4 confirming the receipt of Broadcom’s nomination of a slate of candidates to replace Qualcomm’s existing Board of Directors at the company’s 2018 Annual Meeting of Stockholders. Qualcomm perceived the move as a “blatant attempt to seize control of the Qualcomm Board.”
Broadcom’s proposal was rejected by Qualcomm because it “dramatically undervalues Qualcomm and does not reflect our clear path to near term value,” the letter said. The move would also carry significant regulatory uncertainty, Qualcomm added, as well as giving “no value to the transformative opportunity in 5G.”
Qualcomm urges stakeholders in the letter to block Broadcom’s attempt to “capture, for itself, the value that rightly belongs” to investors. The company touted its position as 12-24 months ahead of its merchant competitors in the 5G space, as a result of “innovation and technological advancements.” A takeover by Broadcom, Qualcomm said, would bring “no value to the transformative 5G value creation opportunity that should play out as 5G is launched globally in 2019.”
Qualcomm’s strong position in 5G, coupled with its strength in connectivity, low power compute and security, has “positioned us for healthy long-term growth in areas such as mobile RF front end, IoT, automotive, computing and networking,” the letter adds. The opportunities, Qualcomm claims, represent a “serviceable addressable market” of $150 billion by 2020.
“We expect growth in these new areas to drive robust value creation for stockholders beyond 2019,” the letter reads. “We are demonstrating success in these areas with more than $3 billion in revenues in 2017, up 75% over the last two years.”
FCC approves CenturyLink’s $30bn acquisition of Level 3
US communications provider CenturyLink has completed its acquisition of US telecommunications and Internet service provider Level 3 Communications for an estimated $30 billion. The combination of CenturyLink and Level 3 creates a global network services company capable of providing customers a wide range of technology solutions over a secure fibre-rich network.
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the merger on November 30. CenturyLink's network now connects more than 350 metropolitan areas with more than 100,000 fibre-enabled, on-net buildings, including 10,000 buildings in EMEA and Latin America. The combined company will compete against US telecom heavyweights AT&T and Verizon.
The combined company, with estimated pro forma revenue of $24 billion for the twelve months ended June 30, 2017 (excluding revenue related to CenturyLink's May 1, 2017, colocation business sale and including estimated intercompany eliminations and purchase accounting adjustments), anticipates that approximately 75 percent of its core revenue will come from business customers and nearly two-thirds of its core revenue will come from strategic services.
"CenturyLink is now poised to offer an expanded, robust portfolio of communications solutions focused on our customers' networking and IT services needs," said Glen F. Post III, CenturyLink's chief executive officer. "Our customers, from individual consumers to global enterprises, will benefit from our expanded, innovative network solutions, our complementary managed services and our highly talented workforce."
The acquisition is more like a merger, with CenturyLink shareholders getting 51 percent ownership and Level 3 stockholders 49 percent. CenturyLink remains headquartered in Monroe, La., with a key operational presence in Colorado and the Denver metropolitan area.
Following the acquisition, CenturyLink is now better positioned to offer a broader, innovative product portfolio of network solutions and advanced IT services designed to meet complex technology and threat protection needs.
The acquisition allows CenturyLink to deliver these solutions and services to enterprise, government, wholesale and consumer customers over a large-scale, fiber-rich global network. CenturyLink will also continue to invest in the reach and speeds of its broadband infrastructure for small businesses and consumers.
"Our goal is to be the world's best networking provider and we have the ability to achieve this as one company," said former Level 3 CEO Jeff Storey, now CenturyLink's president and chief operating officer. "CenturyLink is focused on providing a differentiated experience for our customers, while driving profitable growth and increasing free cash flow per share. Our scale and experience will enable us to deliver on behalf of our customers, employees and our shareholders."
Cisco to acquire US software firm BroadSoft for $1.9 billion
Cisco announced it will acquire publicly-held BroadSoft, Inc., the global communication software and service provider headquartered in Gaithersburg, MD. Cisco will pay $55 per share, in cash, or an aggregate purchase price of approximately $1.9 billion net of cash, assuming fully diluted shares including conversion of debt. The acquisition has been approved by the board of directors of each company.
"Together, Cisco and BroadSoft will deliver a robust suite of collaboration capabilities across every market segment," said Rowan Trollope, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Applications Business Group. "We believe that our combined offers, from Cisco's collaboration technology for enterprises to BroadSoft's suite for small and medium businesses delivered through Service Providers will give customers more choice and flexibility."
"We are excited about this transaction, which represents the culmination of a robust process undertaken by BroadSoft's Board of Directors to maximize shareholder value," said Michael Tessler, president and CEO, BroadSoft. "As businesses continue to move toward the cloud in search of simplicity and speed, joining Cisco will allow us to deliver best-in-class collaboration tools and services.”
“BroadSoft's hosted offerings, sold through the Service Providers and aimed at small and medium businesses, are highly complementary to Cisco's on-premises and enterprise-centric HCS offerings,” Tessler added. “Together, we can inspire teams to create, collaborate and perform in ways never before imagined."
More and more businesses expect fully featured voice and contact center solutions with the ability to deploy them on premises or in the cloud. By combining BroadSoft's open interface and standards-based cloud voice and contact center solutions delivered via Service Provider partners, with Cisco's leading meetings, hardware and services portfolio, the combined company will offer best-of-breed solutions for businesses of all sizes and deliver a full suite of collaboration capabilities to power the future of work.
The acquisition of BroadSoft reinforces Cisco's commitment to Unified Communications and enhances its ability to address the millions of aging TDM lines poised to transition to IP technology and cloud native solutions over the coming years.
"Cisco recently marked a significant milestone with our 200th acquisition. Acquisitions continue to be a core part of our innovation strategy and over the past two years have helped Cisco accelerate or enter areas such as IoT, application intelligence, AI, hyperconvergence and SD-WAN," said Rob Salvagno, vice president of Cisco Corporate Development. "With the addition of BroadSoft, we expect to accelerate the pace of innovation across our entire collaboration portfolio."
The acquisition is expected to close during the first quarter of calendar year 2018, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory review. Prior to the close, Cisco and BroadSoft will continue to operate as separate companies. Upon completion of the transaction, BroadSoft employees will join Cisco's Unified Communications Technology Group led by Vice President and General Manager Tom Puorro, under the Applications Group led by Trollope.
MTN, Airtel among 16 firms lining up to purchase 9mobile
The acquisition of 9mobile, formerly Etisalat Nigeria, looks to be competitive, as 16 firms have submitted their interest to bid for the operator. Etisalat Group was forced to pull out of Nigeria this year after its firm couldn’t come to an agreement with its lenders to restructure $1.2 billion debt after missed payments. Following Etisalat’s exit, the Nigerian firm announced it had rebranded as 9mobile and said it is open to discussions with new investors.
The 16 companies to express their interest in purchasing the Nigerian operator include South Africa’s MTN, India’s Bharti Airtel, and Nigeria’s ntel, which in 2015 acquired the assets of the defunct NITEL and MTel through the federal government’s privatization program. Africacell, a holding company with cellular communications companies in DRC, Gambia, Uganda and Sierra Leone, also submitted its interest in purchasing 9mobile, according to a report by ThisDay.
The report said industry sources confirmed that the 16 companies had complied with the deadline for the submission of Expressions of Interest (EoIs) at Barclays’ office in Lagos. The CEO of 9mobile, Boye Olusanya, said he is focused on getting the company back on track to make profit. 9mobile has about a 13 percent share in Nigeria’s mobile market, according to GSMA Intelligence, behind MTN, Glo Mobile and Airtel.
China Mobile considering purchase of Brazil’s Oi unit
China Mobile is reportedly in talks with Brazil’s telecom regulator to purchase Brazilian telecom provider Oi SA’s mobile phone division. According to Exame magazine, China’s largest telecom company is interested in taking over the Brazilin telecom company, which is currently under bankruptcy protection.
China Mobile wouldn’t be responsible for paying overdue fines that Oi owes if it were to purchase the struggling telco, according to Exame, referring to China Mobile’s discussions with Anatel, Brazil’s agency of telecommunications. The agency reportedly confirmed on Sept. 11 that the talks took place.
If China Mobile were to purchase Oi, it would be the company’s first international buyout and could fire up tensions amid a crackdown by regulators on financing for outbound acquisitions. The Brazilian telecom company has around $19 billion in debts. The company filed Brazil’s largest bankruptcy protection request in June 2016.
Once regarded as one of Brazil’s “national champions”, Oi’s financial problems are mostly attributed to debt accrued from the heavy CAPEX required to meet mandatory goals for the expansion of its fixed-line network, and from mergers and acquisitions, said a report by the Financial Times.
Anatel is Oi's largest individual creditor, with $3.5 billion in fines accumulated during Oi's 20 years of operations. The regulatory agency set a deadline for Oi to present a competent recovery plan by August 23, but it failed to do so, according to Exame. Therefore, the company is facing intensifying pressure to come up with a solution to its financial woes.
Oi’s CEO, Marco Schroeder, said in August that the company needs a capital boost soon in order to survive. The company is said to have lost around 6 million clients in Brazil in the first year under bankruptcy protection. Brazil’s economy is facing a massive amount of pressure due to its recession, with many companies facing heavy debt.
WhatsApp announces plans to monetize its platform in effort to address ‘sustainability issues’
WhatsApp, which is one of the world’s most popular messaging applications - has finally announced a strategy for the monetization of its service in an effort to address issues regarding its ‘sustainability’. Concerns have long been raised over its sustainability, but now the application which was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for $22 billion has revealed its plans.
WhatsApp published a blog post in which it outlined its plans to launch a new innovative service that specifically targets large businesses, with green tick verification badges and a host of other communications tools. In addition to this, it also plans to introduce a ‘free app’ for SME’s.
A spokesperson for the messaging platform said, “Over a billion people use WhatsApp every day to stay connected with their family and friends, and over time, more people are using the app to communicate with businesses they care about too.”
Analysts have claimed that WhatsApp have identified a gaping hole in the market for businesses all over the world, especially those located in Asia, where the platform is a staple, use the service as a free way of connecting merchants and consumers. On the company’s blog post it highlighted information gathered from a survey it conducted, which indicated that users prefer when businesses use WhatsApp as it makes them feel more comfortable buying from a retailer that establishes a connection between the invisible sides of a digital transaction.
The blog post added, “We’ve heard stories of shopkeepers who use WhatsApp to stay in touch with hundreds of customers from a single smartphone, and from people who are unsure about whether or not a business on WhatsApp is authentic.”
The issue of monetization has always been an issue for technology products as companies have to engage in an education process in order to convince users to get past the notion that digital services are ephemeral enough to not warrant a cost. That’s fine, but tech firms have overheads and employees to pay, which makes it extremely challenging in the sense that one of the biggest problems in the industry are its most integral.
WhatsApp COO, Matt Idema confirmed that the firm does plan on introducing fees for businesses, but claimed that he didn’t yet have the details of what services would be monetized. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, he said: “We do intend on charging businesses in the future. Naturally, people might wonder how we plan to keep WhatsApp running without subscription fees and if today’s announcement means we’re introducing third-party ads. The answer is no.”
The COO also disclosed that WhatsApp will commence tests on tools that enable users to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses and organizations that you want to hear from. This could for example allow you to communicate with financial institutions such as a bank over a recent transaction which you believe to be fraudulent - or with an airline over a cancellation or a delay.
WhatsApp continues to appear reluctant to want to go down the advertising route, which is in stark contrast to its parent company, Facebook, whose entire business is funded by huge advertising revenues. Facebook began introducing sponsored posts in its Messenger app in July of this year as it seeks new ways to engage users of its messaging service with advertising clients. However, it’s plain to see that Facebook is now pushing for WhatsApp to make its acquisition worthwhile.