Hutchison Whampoa Buys O2


By ITWeb, Paul Booth, on January 26, 2015

The deal is worth $15.4 billion and is subject to regulatory approval in the UK.

Hutchison Whampoa’s proposed takeover of O2 dominated the international ICT market last week.

At home, the proposed Vodacom/Neotel deal had the most visibility locally.

Key local news

  • A positive trading update from Adapt IT.
  • A negative trading update from Altron.
  • Morvest Business Group has been renamed Morvest Group.
  • The JSE has imposed a public censure on TCS.
  • Vox Telecom has taken itself off the “business for sale” market.
  • A new JSE cautionary by Sekunjalo.

Key African news

  • The appointment of Harry Gombachika as CEO of Malawi Telecommunications.

Key international news

  • Amazon acquired Annapurna Labs, an Israeli chipmaker.
  • Apple bought Semetric, a British music data start-up.
  • Dropbox purchased U.S.-Israeli-based CloudOn, a developer of tools to simplify creating and editing documents on mobile devices.
  • Equinix acquired Nimbo, a professional services company focused on helping enterprises develop and implement hybrid cloud architectures.
  • Intuit bought ZeroPaper, a Brazilian start-up offering cloud-based accounting services.
  • Pinterest purchased Kosei, a still-stealth start-up.
  • Twitter acquired ZipDial, an Indian mobile marketing start-up.
  • Hutchison Whampoa bought O2, one of the UK's largest mobile operators, which is owned by Telefonica. The deal is worth $15.4 billion and is subject to regulatory approval. If approved, it will create the largest mobile operator in the UK, as Hutchison Whampoa already owns Three, the number three operator in the UK.
  • Google and Fidelity Investments made a $1 billion investment in SpaceX, the space exploration start-up.
  • Motorola Solutions invested in SceneDoc, a provider of mission-critical communication solutions and services for public safety and commercial customers.
  • Xiaomi made a 3% investment in Kingsoft, a software firm.
  • A California federal district court issued a summary judgment order in favour of Mentor Graphics, invalidating all asserted claims of three patents asserted by Synopsys.
  • eBay will not only hive off its PayPal unit, but also sell or prepare for public offering its Enterprise unit, which it bought about four years ago.
  • Hon Hai Precision Industry is spinning off a semiconductor unit that packages and tests wireless chips used in iPhones and other mobile gadgets.
  • The UK's Serious Fraud Office has closed its investigation into the HP/Autonomy deal.
  • Excellent quarterly results from Skyworks Solutions.
  • Very good quarterly figures from Infinera (back in the black) and Netflix.
  • Good quarterly numbers from F5 Networks.
  • Satisfactory quarterly results from Altera, Avnet, Cypress Semiconductor, eBay, Logitech International, NetScout Systems and Polycom (back in the black).
  • Satisfactory year-end numbers from ZTE (annual revenue now in excess of $13 billion).
  • Mediocre quarterly results from Adtran, CA Technologies, Cree, IBM and KLA-Tencor.
  • Vox Telecom has taken itself off the 'business for sale' market.
  • Mixed quarterly figures from Sandisk, with revenue up (just), but profit down; Saudi Telecom (the ‘real' owners of Cell C), with revenue up but profit down; and Xilinx, with revenue up but profit down.
  • Quarterly losses from AMD, Celestica, Fairchild Semiconductor, Maxim Integrated Products and Verizon Communications.
  • The appointments of Thaddeus Arroyo as CEO of Iusacell (now owned by AT&T); Khaled Biyari as CEO of Saudi Telecom; and Sunil Sood as CEO of Vodafone India.
  • The resignation of Martin Peters, CEO of Vodafone India.
  • A planned IPO in Hong Kong from Legend Holdings, the largest shareholder of Lenovo.
  • An excellent IPO on the NYSE by Box, an online data storage provider.

Research results and predictions


  • Public cloud services in the MENA region are expected to reach $851 million in 2015, a 25% increase over 2014, according to Gartner.
  • EMEA PC shipments reached 25.5 million in Q4 2014, a 2% yearly increase, with Lenovo significantly closing the gap on HP in the number one position, according to IDC. Dell overtook Acer for the number three slot.


  • Over 46 million notebooks were shipped globally during Q4 2014, unchanged from Q4 2013, according to Digitimes Research. Shipments in 1Q15 are expected to exceed 38 million, a decrease of 2.4% from 1Q14.
  • Global tablet shipments are expected to decline 11.8% this year to 244 million units, as large-size smartphones and inexpensive notebooks take demand away, according to Digitimes Research.
  • Israeli high-technology companies raised a record $3.4 billion in 2014 from venture capital and other private investors, up 46% from 2013, according to the Israel Venture Capital Research Centre.

Stock market changes

  • JSE All share index: Up 2.8%
  • Nasdaq: Up 2.7%
  • NYSE (Dow): Up 0.9%
  • S&P 500: Up 1.6%
  • FTSE100: Up 4.3%
  • Nikkei225: Up 3.8%
  • Hang Seng: Up 3.1%
  • Shanghai: Down 0.7%
  • Top SA share movements: Amecor (-10.6%), Ansys (-7.9%), CompuClearing (+19.8%), Ellies (+19.8%), MICROmega (-7.6%), Poynting (-10%), Prescient (-10.1%) and Silverbridge (+7.8%)

Look out for International:

  • The possible acquisition by Google of Softcard, a mobile payments service.

South Africa:

  • Further developments regarding the proposed Telkom/BCX and Vodacom/Neotel deals.

Final word

There was little change among the largest recipients of U.S. patents in 2014, with IBM once again topping the list with 7,534, the first company to receive more than 7,000 in a single year. Samsung Electronics reported 4,952 patents. Canon, Sony, Microsoft, and Toshiba remain in positions number three through six, respectively, with Qualcomm claiming the number seven slot (up from nine). Google came in at eight (up from 11) and Apple at 11 (up from 13). LG Electronics and Panasonic occupy positions nine and 10.