Displaying items by tag: acquisition

Qualcomm touts $1bn cost reduction strategy to fend off Broadcom

Written on Wednesday, 24 January 2018 09:41

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.”

Published in Telecom Vendors

FCC approves CenturyLink’s $30bn acquisition of Level 3

Written on Sunday, 05 November 2017 13:31

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."

Published in Finance

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.

Published in Finance

MTN, Airtel among 16 firms lining up to purchase 9mobile

Written on Wednesday, 25 October 2017 13:18

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.

Published in Telecom Operators

China Mobile considering purchase of Brazil’s Oi unit

Written on Thursday, 05 October 2017 08:52

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.

Published in Telecom Operators

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.

Published in Apps

Mobile Klinik, Canada’s fastest growing professional smartphone and tablet repair chain, today announced completion of an acquisition of mobilFIX and Dr. Mobile smartphone repair businesses for an undisclosed amount. The chain has nine smartphone repair outlets, with seven established locations in the Edmonton area and two other stores opening soon, also in Alberta.

“This acquisition both accelerates our profitable growth and will anchor our growth strategy in Western Canada,” said Rob Bruce, Founding Partner and CEO, Mobile Klinik. “We are excited to work with the talented team at mobilFIX and Dr. Mobile to serve Albertans with while-you-wait, fully warrantied professional smartphone and tablet repair.

Sunil Goel, former CEO of mobilFIX and Dr. Mobile (www.mobilfix.ca) will take on a new national role at Mobile Klinik. He said: “Joining forces with Mobile Klinik gives us access to growth capital, experienced leadership, and an opportunity for our team to join the most professional smartphone repair company in Canada.”

mobilFIX and Dr. Mobile, established in 2013, operate two locations each in West Edmonton Mall. mobilFIX operates another three locations in the Edmonton area. All seven current locations will remain open to serve customers as they transition to the Mobile Klinik brand. The other two locations will open shortly as Mobile Klinik.

Mobile Klinik offers dedicated professional smartphone and tablet repair, most times in less than 60 minutes. Expert technicians offer immediate, on-site diagnosis and quote to repair a broken smartphone or tablet with premium quality parts and a lifetime warranty on parts and labour.

Mobile Klinik’s concept of while you wait professional smartphone repair was introduced to Canada by four Canadian wireless and retail industry leaders: Rob Bruce, former President, Rogers Communications; Ken Campbell, former CEO, WIND Mobile; and Alain Adam and Naaman Zorub, entrepreneurs who operate a number of wireless retail stores and other businesses in Ottawa and Gatineau. Since opening the first store in Ottawa in September 2015, and including today’s announced acquisition, Mobile Klinik operates 20 locations in major shopping malls and other high-traffic retail locations in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta. More locations will open soon.

Published in Devices

The parent company of Discovery Channel and Animal Planet, Discovery Communications, is forking out $14.6 billion, or $90 per share, based on Discovery’s Friday, July 21 closing price, to purchase Scripps Networks, the parent company of the Food Network and Travel Channel. The deal will combine two major US television companies, further consolidating the media industry. The transaction is expected to close by early 2018.

Discovery and Scripps combined share an estimated 20 percent of ad-supported television viewership in the United States. The benefit of combining, the companies said, is that it would allow them to compete better against online options, such as Netflix and Amazon, which are quickly gaining popularity.

Additionally, the combined company will be home to five of the top pay-TV networks for women and will account for over 20% share of women watching primetime pay-TV in the U.S. Discovery sees strong opportunities to strengthen its existing global female networks with select content from Food Network, HGTV and all the Scripps brands.

Cable television companies face falling subscriber numbers, and to compete with platforms like Netflix, are releasing their own online platforms, and also cheaper television packages with fewer channels, to entice viewership.

“This is an exciting new chapter for Discovery. Scripps is one of the best run media companies in the world with terrific assets, strong brands and popular talent and formats.  Our business is about great storytelling, authentic characters and passionate super fans,” said David Zaslav, President and CEO, Discovery Communications.

“We believe that by coming together with Scripps, we will create a stronger, more flexible and more dynamic media company with a global content engine that can be fully optimized and monetized across our combined networks, products and services in every country around the world,” Zaslav added.

Kenneth W. Lowe, Chairman, President & CEO, Scripps Networks Interactive, said, “Through the passion and dedication of our incredible employees, and with the support of the Scripps family, we have built a lifestyle content company that touches the lives of consumers every single day. This agreement with Discovery presents an unmatched opportunity for Scripps to grow its leading lifestyle brands across the world and on new and emerging channels including short-form, direct-to-consumer and streaming platforms.”

The combination will extend Scripps’ brands, programming and talent to a broader international audience through Discovery’s global distribution, sales and languaging infrastructure.  Scripps also has a strong position in key international growth markets, including the U.K. and Poland, and will help fuel Discovery’s existing content pipeline in growth areas like Discovery’s Home and Health network in Latin America.

Discovery’s added scale, content engine and multiple brand offerings will present a compelling opportunity for new digital distribution partners, including mobile, OTT, and direct-to-consumer platforms and offerings.

Moffett Nathanson analysts told the BBC there could be advantages for Discovery following the merger, but the long-term issues faced by the companies probably won’t go away: "While there will likely be ample cost synergies, international revenue opportunities and improved relative scale, we don't think this merger will fundamentally alter the long-term prospects of these companies."

There was talk of the two companies combining in 2014, and more recently when Scripps fielded interest from Viacom, the owner of MTV, Comedy Central and the Paramount film studio. But after considering the options, Scripps decided the best option was to merge with Discovery.

Published in Finance

US telecom giant AT&T made several executive appointments in late July in preparation for completing its acquisition of Time Warner Inc., the global media and entertainment leader with HBO, Turner, and Warner Bros. The transaction is currently under review by the United States Department of Justice and competition authorities in certain foreign countries.  

Effective August 1, new executives will assume new positions and will continue to report to AT&T Inc. Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson. “We look forward to completing the deal and delivering for customers the many benefits of this merger,” said Stephenson.

John Stankey, previously CEO of AT&T Entertainment Group, will assume the lead of AT&T’s Time Warner Merger Integration Planning Team. He will work closely with Time Warner Inc. Chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes to plan for a smooth leadership transition to Stankey as CEO of AT&T’s media company once the merger is complete.

Previously Chief Strategy Officer and Group President of AT&T Technology Operations, John Donovan was named CEO of AT&T Communications, once the merger is complete, which includes AT&T’s Business Solutions, Entertainment Group, and Technology & Operations groups.

In addition, Lori Lee, who previously led AT&T’s Time Warner Merger Integration Team, will assume leadership with AT&T International, and maintain her responsibilities as Global Marketing Officer.

AT&T provides mobile, broadband and video services to US-based consumers and serves nearly 3.5 million businesses, from the smallest companies to nearly all the Fortune 1000. The company provides mobile services to more than 13 million consumers and businesses in Mexico, and pay-TV service to more than 13 million subscribers across 11 countries and territories in Latin America and the Caribbean.  

Published in Telecom Operators

Virgin Mobile, Vodacom and Bua Group are among companies potentially interested in buying 9mobile, formerly Etisalat Nigeria, according to a report by ThisDay. 9mobile recently rebranded after the UAE’s Etisalat terminated its management agreement with its Nigerian unit, giving up its 45 percent stake to a trustee.

Etisalat pulled out of Nigeria after its firm couldn’t come to an agreement with its lenders to restructure its $1.2 billion debt after it 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.

According to the report, Virgin Mobile, Vodacom and Bua Group, a local diversified business with a stake in various sectors, all plan to submit their memoranda of interest and technical presentations to a consortium of banks which have appointed advisers to evaluate acquisition bids.

Virgin Mobile is said to be willing to absorb the balance of the $1.2 billion debt 9mobile owes to 13 financial institutions, and stands out as the likely winner. Virgin’s chances are also high because of Vodacom’s rivalry with South Africa’s MTN over the years, therefore several former MTN Nigeria executives are backing Virgin’s potential bid.

If Virgin successfully takes control of 9mobile, it will reportedly execute a development strategy in which every cell site will be upgraded to 3G or 4G. The move could be extremely beneficial for a nation that has mostly 2G cell sites.

9mobile has about a 13 percent share of Nigeria’s mobile market, according to GSMA Intelligence, behind MTN, Glo Mobile and Airtel.

Published in Telecom Operators
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