Category Archives: acquisition

Microsoft adds more software capabilities to Azure IoT suite

AzureMicrosoft has announced the acquisition of Solair, an Italian IoT software company which currently operates in the manufacturing, retail, food & beverage and transportation industries.

Solair software, which runs on the Microsoft Azure platform, focuses on helping customers improve efficiently and profitably of their IoT initiatives. The acquisition continues Microsoft’s ambitions in the IoT market segment, delivering a more complete solution, as opposed to simply the Azure IoT platform.

“The integration of Solair’s technology into the Microsoft Azure IoT Suite will continue to enhance our complete IoT offering for the enterprise,” Sam George, Partner Director, Azure IoT at Microsoft. “We’ll have more specifics to share about how Solair is helping us build the intelligent cloud in the future. In the meantime, I’d like to reiterate my welcome to the Solair team.”

Solair has been in operation for five years now, and boasts a healthy number of customers including Rancilio Group, where it enabled a connected coffee machine maintenance strategy, and Minerva Omega where it created a remote maintenance and service strategy for the food processing group. Financial details of the acquisition were not released, and Microsoft did not release any specific details of how the business will be integrated into the overall Azure IoT suite.

“From the very start, our mission has been to help customers quickly and easily gain access to the huge benefits of the Internet of Things (IoT),” Tom Davis CEO at Solair. “By building our solutions based on real customer requirements that allow them to gain real value, I’m confident that Solair’s technology and talent will be able to make an important contribution to Microsoft’s Azure IoT Suite and Microsoft’s broader IoT ambitions.”

Microsoft has seemingly been on a mission to bolster its position in the IoT market, both organically and through industry acquisitions. At Build 2016, the team launched Azure Service Fabric and new IoT starter kits, as well as previews of new services to serverless compute for event-driven solutions, Azure Functions, and Power BI Embedded which allows developers to embed reports and visualizations in any application.

Oracle acquisition boosts position in data-as-a-service market

ContractOracle has announced its intention to acquire Israeli machine-learning company Crosswire, in a bid to strengthen its Data-as-a-Service offering.

The Crosswire technology enables marketers and publishers the opportunity to increase cross-device advertising, personalization and analytics, and builds on Oracle’s efforts to bolster its position in the smart data market segment.

“Uniting identity across desktop, browsers and mobile apps to create a meaningful and consistent relationship with customers and prospects has become one of the critical challenges for marketers,” said Omar Tawakol, General Manager at Oracle Data Cloud. “Identification methods are different on every device and across every channel, and solving this can enable marketers to have a significantly more effective dialogue with the consumer and save billions of advertising dollars.”

The team claim in combining the Crosswire capabilities with its Data Cloud portfolio, marketers will be able to build a graphical representation to identify how consumers interact with their digital devices. Oracle currently has such an offering within its portfolio, though the company claims the Crosswire capabilities increases the accuracy of the data, which in theory offers marketers the opportunity to better allocate advertising budgets.

“Oracle Data Cloud is the fastest growing global Data as a Service business, aggregating more than 3 billion profiles from over 15 million websites in its data marketplace and operating the most accurate ID Graph to enable understanding of consumer behaviour across all media channels,” said Tawakol. “The addition of Crosswise further broadens the Oracle ID Graph to construct a complete view of consumers’ digital interactions across multiple devices.”

The acquisition builds on moves by Oracle over recent years to bolster its cloud business. The company bought Ravello Systems for an estimated $500 million in February, as well as numerous acquisitions in 2015 including CloudMonkey, Maxymiser, and StackEngine.

Maintel announces acquisition of Azzurri Communications

GrowthSystems integrator Maintel announced it has entered into a conditional agreement to acquire Azzurri Communications.

The acquisition of Azzurri Communications, which offers communication services including telephony, mobile services, document management, is part of a larger push for Maintel market position. The company highlighted that the deal is a strong component in its strategy to grow and diversify its revenue base.

“Azzurri Communications is a highly respected business with a complementary product offering and target market, which will provide enhanced scale and visibility for the combined group,” said Eddie Buxton, CEO at Maintel. “This acquisition will accelerate Maintel’s shift into hosted cloud and data, ensuring we are well positioned to take advantage of these high growth areas of the unified communications market. It will also build scale in managed services, continuing the shift in our business mix, which we have been driving following previous acquisitions.”

The acquisition will broaden Maintel’s offering to include a network services division, a mobile division, managed services, and technology and professional services. “With the acquisition of Azzurri, Maintel will also gain a new set of highly skilled and professional team members. We are looking forward to welcoming Azzurri employees to the group,” said Buxton.

Alongside the announcement, Maintel’s also reported a 21% increase in revenues for 2015, up to £50.6m. As part of the company’s growth strategy, it also acquired Datapoint and Proximity Communications in recent months.

“We are really pleased at the prospect of joining Maintel because this enables the combined business to offer its customers a broader range of services,” Chris Jagusz, CEO of Azzurri Communications. “Our employees will benefit too by being part of one of the most significant players in our market.”

HPE and Blackstone agree $825 million deal for Indian IT services business

Plant in front of a creative working deskHPE has announced its intention to sell its majority stake in Mphasis in a deal with Blackstone, believed to work in the region of $825 million.

The company said that Blackstone has agreed to purchase at least 84% of its stake in Mphasis for INR 430 per share. Blackstone will purchase the maximum amount of the remaining 16% stake that is permitted by Indian securities laws and subject to the outcome of a mandatory tender offer between signing and closing. Assuming the values are correct, HPE’s in the Indian business would be values in the region of $825 million.

Indian IT Services company Mphasis has been part of the HPE group since 2008, after its parent company EDS was wholly acquired by HPE. The company had 23,000 staff at the end of the quarter, delivering both business process outsourcing and IT services.

“While our financial relationship is changing, the business and commercial relationship with Mphasis remains an important part of our service delivery strategy,” said Mike Nefkens, GM of HPE Enterprise Services. “We remain committed to our strategic partnership with Mphasis and to providing our customers with the high level of service and support they expect from HPE.”

It is believed that the deal represents a move from HPE to remove business components which do not line with future business objectives. In recent weeks, the company has made moves to improve its position in a number of markets including cloud infrastructure equipment market and machines learning. While the deal may represent HPE moving away from the Indian IT services market, it will not affect the commercial relationship between the two companies.

HPE plans to renew the current master services agreement with Mphasis for another five years in connection with this transaction. It is estimated that HPE business accounted for 24 percent of the Indian company’s total revenue of rupees 15 billion in the fourth quarter of 2015.

NTT Data to acquire Dell Services for $3.06 billion

NTT DataJapan’s NTT Data is to acquire Dell’s IT Services business for $3.06 billion, in an effort to bolster its footprint in the North American region.

The announcement confirms speculation over recent months as to the future of the IT Services division, as Dell has been rumoured to be searching for a buyer for the business unit to aid financing of the EMC deal. Dell Services was initially formed through the acquisition of Perot Systems in 2009 for $3.9 billion. The new agreement with NTT Data will see Dell absorb an $800 million loss on the division and could indicate that financing the EMC acquisition is more difficult than initially expected.

In December, BCN reported Dell had been facing challenges in financing one of the biggest financial deals in history. For the $63 billion EMC acquisition to proceed, Dell has had to reduce its levels of debt with the Perot Systems business unit rumoured to be a favourite for sale.

The company will initially remain under the leadership of Suresh Vaswani, current President of Dell Services, who will continue to report to Dell CEO Michael Dell until the completion of the deal. It is believed that as part of the acquisition NTT Data will take on 28,000 Dell employees, though future leadership of the business has not been confirmed.

“NTT Data is pleased with the unique opportunity to acquire such high-calibre talent, and a corporate culture that shares common values with NTT Data, with emphasis on client first, foresight, teamwork and a commitment to innovation,” said Toshio Iwamoto, President and CEO of NTT Data Corporation. “Welcoming Dell Services to NTT DATA is expected to strengthen our leadership position in the IT Services market and initiates an important business relationship with Dell.”

NTT Data’s acquisition of the IT services division is the largest by the company to date and continues to bolster its North American footprint. Revenues for NTT Data in overseas markets has more than doubled since 2011 and in the same period the company has spent more than $600 million on acquisitions. The company has prioritized growth in the North America region, primarily targeting lucrative contracts in the healthcare, banking, financial services and insurance.

Since 2011 NTT Data has been proactive in bolstering its overseas business with a number of acquisitions throughout the world. In Europe it acquired companies including Everis and Value Team, in North America Optimal Solutions Integration and Carlisle & Gallagher were added, whereas iPay88 increased the company’s footprint in Malaysia.

“There are few acquisition targets in our market that provide this type of unique opportunity to increase our competitiveness and the depth of our market offerings,” said John McCain, CEO of NTT Data. “Dell Services is a very well-run business and we believe its employee base, long-standing client relationships, and the mix of long term and project-based work will enhance our portfolio.”

The deal could indicate that financing the EMC agreement has proved to be more difficult than initially expected. Dell Services as a business unit was reportedly to be valued in the region of $5 billion, which could highlight Dell’s urgency in completing the sale. If reports are correct, it would appear NTT Data has negotiated a good deal.

Giant IT distributor Ingram bought by HNA Group for $6 billion

M&A merger acquisitionGlobal technology distributor turned cloud service provider Ingram Micro is to be bought by Chinese conglomerate HNA Group for $6 billion.

Ingram will continue to be based in California but is now a subsidiary of marine logistics specialist Tianjin Tianhai, which is owned by The HNA Group, an aviation, tourism and logistics outfit. The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2016. Ingram CEO Alain Monié and his management team will remain and its business is expected to continue as normal.

“The addition of Ingram Micro would help the logistics sector of HNA Group transform from a logistics operator to a supply chain operator, and provide one-stop services while improving efficiencies,” said Adam Tan, CEO of HNA Group.

Founded in 1989 when IT was a hardware defined industry Ingram Micro became the world’s largest wholesale technology products distributor with clients such as Acer, Apple, Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Lenovo, Microsof and Samsung. It ranks 62nd in the 2015 Fortune 500. As the IT industry evolved to become software driven, it has taken steps to transform itself. It announced cloud partnerships with IBM and Parallels at its Ingram Micro Cloud Summit 2014 and promised tools to help its reseller clients make the transition to selling cloud services. To this end Ingram Micro added three new services, Hosted Exchange, Virtual Private Server and Web Hosting.

However, the funding from the new owners could help it make more of a transition, according to a statement from Alain Monié, Ingram Micro CEO. “Our agreement to join HNA Group delivers near-term and compelling cash value to our stockholders and we expect it to provide exciting new opportunities for our vendors, customers and associates,” said Monie, “innovation, new services introduction, brand management and ensuring the stability and continuity of the businesses joining their enterprise are fundamental to HNA Group’s overall strategy.”

Analyst Clive Longbottom at Quocirca said TTI seems to be ‘paying high’ in order to gain direct access to western markets. “Whether this will work remains to be seen,” said Longbottom, “will the US government and all its dependent departments shy away from Ingram now, fearing that the Chinese will be implementing back doors via firmware or software changes?”

For the general user, this will probably make very little difference, the analyst predicted. “It’s likely that TTI will be hands off, using Ingram to optimise its overall buying power on a global basis to be able to either provide better margins or to compete on price more effectively where required, ” said Longbottom. Ingram shareholders, meanwhile, are getting a 39% premium over Ingram’s closing price.

Juniper Networks buys telco cloud vendor BTI Systems

business cloud network worldData centre infrastructure vendor Juniper Networks is to buy BTI Systems, a specialist developer of software-defined networking (SDN) tools and networking hardware, reports

The acquisition was announced on Juniper’s website which gave no details of the terms of the deal. However, in a comparable takeover in 2012, Juniper paid $176 million when it bought SDN startup Contrail. In its statement Juniper explained its need to speed up the delivery of open and automated packet optical transport systems, as demand for cloud services booms.

Juniper’s General Manager of Development Jonathan Davidson said Juniper will integrate the new SDN tools with its NorthStar Controller and use the new network management features to create new end-to-end services.

The move may affect cloud service providers as it gives owners of multiple data centres a new option for juggling huge volumes of data within their own data centre estate. BTI’s data centre and service provider clients include top tier operators such as Equinix, Interxion, Rackspace and VKontakte. It has a client base of 380 data centre operators and cloud service providers.

Since BTI specializes in cloud and metro networking, in which large volumes of content are shifted between data centres concentrated in the same town or city, the new technology addition could position Juniper more favourably when tendering against Cisco and Arista.

Ottowa based Canadian network BTI has previously raised $60 million in venture capital from backers including Bain Capital Ventures, Export Development Canada and Fujitsu Network Communications.

The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions and the expected date for transaction closure was given as ‘Q2 of this year’.

PWC buys CRM and sales automation specialist Outbox

PwC is to acquire technology consultant Poland-based Outbox Group, a cloud-based CRM and sales automation specialist.

The addition of 250 employees from Outbox, a partner of Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle and SAP, will raise PWC’s headcount of technology specialists to almost 3,000 across EMEA. The acquisition agreement, signed on 31 December 2015, is expected to formally complete by January 31 2016.

Formed in 2005, Outbox provides consultancy over CRM, customer experience and marketing automation to 150 customers including Sky, Vodafone and Inmarsat. The Warsaw-based consultancy has now completed 250 CRM projects and has international offices in the UK, Germany, France and the Czech Republic.

The potential market for customer experience, CRM and digital is estimated at €6 billion according to PwC’s UK and EMEA Consulting Leader, Ashley Unwin. “This acquisition represents an investment in emerging markets and establishes centre of excellence for customer and digital capabilities within PwC in Europe,” said Unwin.

UK-based Outbox managing director Nicholas Mobbs will join PwC as a partner. “We are excited to join a leading consulting brand and combine business advice with user experience, marketing automation and CRM skills and services,” said Mobbs.

In other PWC news, cloud computing is contributing to a confidence crisis among enterprise chief executives, according to PWC’s global chairman Dennis Nally. Speaking at the 2016 Davos World Economic Forum, Nally said the cloud-based integrated global economy means that the world’s hot spots can instantly transmit end to end instability across the world.

Quoting the results of PwC’s 19th Annual Global CEO Survey, Nally said there were two outstanding sentiments among the survey group of 1,409 CEOs in 83 countries. The global economy and geopolitical tensions, the top two concerns, are interlinked now that technology acts as a lightning rod between hot spots, according to Nally. “We all know how integrated the global economy really is and not looking good is how I’d put it,” Nally told CNBC.

Salesforce buys SteelBrick from California and wind power from Virginia

Cloud giant has announced two new acquisitions, one intended to boost its bottom line and the other to shrink its carbon footprint.

The acquisition of California based start up SteelBrick gives it a quoting and billing system for SMEs that runs within the Salesforce cloud platform. Meanwhile, it has announced an agreement to source 40 megawatts of green power, from a new West Virginia wind farm, through a virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA).

SteelBricks, which announced the take-over on its company blog, makes configure-price-quote and subscription-billing apps for small and medium-size enterprises. It had recently added subscription billing functions after buying UK-based cloud app maker Invoice IT. The apps automate the processes between researching customers and collecting payment and clients include Silicon Valley cloud vendors Cloudera and Nutanix.

Salesforce already part owned SteelBrick, having funded the start up through investment arm Salesforce Ventures. In December it announced plans to acquire the rest of SteelBrick for $360 million. Salesforce said it aims to close the deal by the end of April.

Having seen how Salesforce pioneered the shift to enterprise cloud computing, SteelBrick CEO Godard Abel said the company founder Max Rudman had been on a six year mission to simplify the process of selling. Abel was brought in as CEO having previously founded BigMachines, acquired by Oracle in 2013.

Meanwhile, San Francisco-based Salesforce is to buy an electricity supply from a West Virginia wind farm approximately 2,700 miles away. The two have signed a 12-year wind energy agreement for 40 megawatts (MW) of power to be provided through a virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA).

The electricity generated under the agreement is expected to be 125,000 megawatt hours annually, which exceeds Salesforce’s data centre electricity consumption in its full fiscal year 2015. The wind farm is expected to be operational by December 2016 and will deliver clean energy to the same regional electricity grid that currently powers the majority of Salesforce’s data centre load.

This announcement follows Salesforce’s recent commitments to achieve net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050 and to power all its global operations with renewable energy.

Dell EMC takeover raises questions about Virtustream and Perot Systems

Dell office logoTwo new developments have been reported this week as Dell and EMC attempt to resolve the $67 billion question of how to finance one of the biggest mergers in the history of technology.

Cloud software giant VMware has withdrawn from a previous commitment to the Virtustream cloud service venture with parent company EMC, it has disclosed to regulators.

The new direction comes as Dell, the proposed new owner of EMC and a potentially controlling stakeholder in VMware, is allegedly looking at new options to finance the $67 billion deal. According to sources quoted in Re/code Dell is looking for a buyer for its $5 billion valued technology outsourcing business Perot Systems. The funds raised would help reduce the level of debt Dell must take on if the EMC takeover is to proceed.

In November, BCN reported how questions of financing of Dell’s takeover of EMC could scupper the deal, which BCN first revealed in October. A week after the deal was announced, EMC and VMware unveiled plans for a joint, equal partnership to create cloud service Virtustream, but unease about the announcement wiped 25% off VMware share values, according to some analysts. Since Dell and its backers were planning to use share value as a means of funding the transaction the decline in stock market value threatened to undermine the funding of the deal.

Shareholders in both EMC and VMware are allegedly unhappy with the idea of the Virtustream project, which appeared to be a “dumping ground” for money-losing assets, it’s claimed.

VMware shares fell 25 cents to $58.80 by mid-morning Monday.

Meanwhile, as Dell seeks to raise $10 billion in cash to lighten the potential burden of debt, it is allegedly courting suitors for Perot Systems, an outsourcing outfit it bought in 2009 for $3.9 billion.

According to reports, Dell has been in talks with India-based Tata Consultancy Services, French outsourcing giant Atos, New York based IT services company Genpact and Canadian IT firm CGI. Talks with Tata stalled on a disagreement about the valuation or Perot Systems, say reports.

According to Re/Code sources Dell began trying to sell Perot Systems three months ago and the cash realised would be a crucial enabler for the EMC acquisition. However, a range of potential buyers who were sounded out, including IBM, Infosys and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, have passed on the opportunity.