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Cisco Acquires Artificial Intelligence Firm MindMeld For $125 Mn

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This will strengthen the company’s new conversational interfaces for collaboration suite

Cisco has announced that it will acquire San Francisco based artificial intelligence firm MindMeld for $125 million. The transaction will be done in cash as well as equity and is expected to be closed by fourth quarter of the current fiscal.

MindMeld has developed a unique AI platform that enables customers to build intelligent and human-like conversational interfaces for any application or device. Through its proprietary machine learning (ML) technology, MindMeld delivers accuracy to help users interact with voice and chat assistants in a more natural way.

“The workplace of the future is one powered by AI,” said Rowan Trollope, senior vice president, Cisco IoT and Applications Group. “This is a significant step toward making that workplace a reality. Integrating MindMeld into the Cisco Spark platform will transform how users interact in Cisco Spark Spaces, Cisco Spark Meetings, and Cisco Spark Care.”

With ten patent assets to its name, MindMeld brings industry-coveted AI, software and engineering talent and expertise to further the evolution of Cisco’s collaboration suite. The MindMeld team will join the Cloud Collaboration group under the leadership of Jens Meggers, senior vice president and general manager, as the Cognitive Collaboration team.

Cisco has been using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technology in various of its product portfolio including Stealthwatch, Cisco Spark Board, and Cisco Spark Room Kit and features like SpeakerTrack and VoiceTrack across our video portfolio.

As chat and voice quickly become the interfaces of choice, MindMeld’s AI technology will enable Cisco to deliver unique experiences throughout its portfolio, starting with collaboration. This acquisition will power new conversational interfaces for Cisco’s collaboration products, revolutionizing how users will interact with our technology, increasing ease of use, and enabling new cognitive capabilities. For example, users will be able to interact with Cisco Spark via natural language commands, providing an experience that is highly customized to the user and their work. Together, Cisco and MindMeld can bring voice AI to meeting rooms throughout the world, where Cisco’s near-ubiquitous presence of video and telephony hardware will help increase adoption of AI technology across the workplace.

This story is first published in M2MCafe.

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M&A

Siemens To Acquire Transportation Firm HaCon

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Siemens is planning to acquire HaCon, a company headquartered in Hanover, Germany. The two parties have agreed not to disclose financial details. Pending the approval of antitrust authorities, the deal is expected to be concluded in the first half of calendar year 2017. HaCon is a leading international provider of planning, scheduling and information systems for public transportation, mobility and logistics.

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

The company has been a successful player in the mobility business for 30 years. Trip planning software from HaCon is used in more than 25 countries and comprises the center piece of the travel information systems in operation at more than 100 transport companies and associations.

“The acquisition of HaCon will enable us to enter a completely new business area that complements our current portfolio, expanding it to include timetable scheduling as well as trip planning by passengers,” said Jochen Eickholt, CEO of Siemens’ Mobility Division. “With this move, we’re rigorously implementing our digitalization strategy and opening up new growth opportunities for our company along our customers’ value chain,” he added.

“Together with a strong partner like Siemens AG, we’ll be even better equipped to drive the mobility software business, particularly in the global market,” said Michael Frankenberg, CEO of HaCon.

Siemens is already a leading rail automation provider, offering systems up to and including complete driverless operation. A leader in road mobility solutions as well, Siemens plans to expand its intermodal digital offerings with the acquisition of HaCon.

Together with HaCon, Siemens will be able to serve rail infrastructure operators and public transportation companies as a single-source supplier of innovative software solutions for train and route planning, timetable information systems, cutting-edge payment systems and intermodal mobility platforms. In addition, apps for use on passengers’ mobile devices will enhance trip planning, transparency and thus acceptance.

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M&A

BICS To Acquire TeleSign Corp For $230 Mn

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International wholesale connectivity and interoperability services provider BICS today announced to acquire digital authentication firm TeleSign Corporation for $230 million. The privately held US firm is active in the provision of authentication and mobile identity services to Internet and digital service providers, for $230 million.

As per the transaction deal, BICS will pay an upfront cash consideration of $230 million (on a cash and debt free basis) as well as a variable performance-based earn-out consideration. The deal is expected to be closed by the third quarter of 2017.

The acquisition creates the world’s first end-to-end CPaaS provider, bridging the market leading TeleSign cloud communications platform with one of the largest global carriers in the world.

“We’ve been in the driver’s seat of our industry’s transformation, and we’ve built a solid business of over 1.5 billion euro ($1.6 billion) in yearly turnover, with the ambition of bridging the telecom world with the new and innovative communications providers worldwide”, said Daniel Kurgan, CEO of BICS.

“By combining the power of TeleSign’s advanced cloud communication platform and customer base with BICS’ market-leading footprint and global reach, we are well positioned to lead the development of one of technology’s most exciting sectors,” he added.

Today, companies of all sizes and sectors are embracing cloud communications to create innovative new services and transform how they communicate with their customers. As enterprises move to offer the latest and most secure services, harnessing the power of the cloud has become critical to every organization’s digital transformation. In fact, IDC forecasts the worldwide voice and text messaging communications platform-as-a-service market to grow from $867 million in 2016 to $8.2 billion in 20211.

Communications-Platform-as-a-Service (CPaaS) allows developers and product owners to easily add real-time communications features into their applications and services without having to build backend infrastructure and interfaces. With today’s acquisition, businesses now have a single destination for the world’s first end-to-end CPaaS provider, offering an unparalleled global network and the most reliable and trusted communications platform available.

“TeleSign has a strong business with annual revenues of around $100 million built on security and on a pedigree of innovation, with a strong portfolio of global customers,” said TeleSign’s CEO Aled Miles. “Combining our technology with BICS’ global carrier footprint, mobile operator reach and strong experience, puts us in a class by ourselves. Being the industry’s first end-to-end CPaaS means we can offer an unmatched level of business communications as we help organizations grow, engage and secure their end-users anywhere in the world.”

TeleSign will continue to operate independently as a wholly-owned subsidiary of BICS with the brand name TeleSign and CEO Aled Miles will retain his portfolio. Daniel Kurgan, CEO of BICS, will become the Chairman of TeleSign.

This strategic acquisition will enable BICS to expand from a global carrier to an international digital enabler, and accelerate its strategy to diversify in terms of customers, solutions and geographies, acquiring expertise in mobile identity, account security and cloud communication solutions. This will also enhance BICS’ geographical scope in the Americas and enlarge its customer base towards world-top internet brands to which BICS will sell its messaging, voice and Internet of Things solutions.

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M&A

HCL To Acquire Mortgage BPO Firm Urban Fulfillment Services For $30 Mn

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HCL Technologies today announced an agreement to acquire Urban Fulfillment Services, a provider of mortgage business process & fulfilment services.

UFS is a Limited Liability Company incorporated in USA, founded in 2002. With over 350highly skilled professionals, UFS operates out of 3 centres in the US, engaged in providing mortgage business process and fulfilment services to its customers.

“The acquisition of Urban Fulfillment Services strengthens HCL’s capabilities in mortgage BPO services, loan fulfillment and debt servicing space,” saidAnoop Tiwari, Corporate Vice President and Global Head – Business Services, HCL Technologies.“Combining UFS’ talent and client portfolio with HCL’s deep industry expertise and business acumen, offers us the unique opportunity to provide platform–based services on our own platform, driving transformation through robotics process automation.”

“The synergies between UFS’ client focused and efficient business processing services and HCL’s technology leadership and financial strength will create an unparalleled competitor and leading provider of state-of-the-art services to the enterprise customers,” said Charles S. Sanders, CEO of Urban Lending Solutions. “I am very excited about joining the HCL team and being part of such a capable and progressive company that will deliver the highest level of services to the industry.”

HCL will be acquiring 100% stake in UFS. The total cash consideration for this transaction is up to $30 million, including contingent payments subject to certain financial milestones.Mortgage servicing is a regulated activity in USA and the transaction would require regulatory approvals for obtaining the licenses.

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CorporateM&A

Riverbed To Acquire Cloud-based WiFi Firm Xirrus

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Riverbed Technology Friday announced to acquire California based WiFi networks firm Xirrus,. This acquisition of the privately-held company will help Riverbed expand its SD-WAN (software-defined wide area network) and cloud networking solutions.

Besides these solutions the company will also continue to offer Xirrus as a stand-alone enterprise WLAN solution.

“Xirrus is a strategic acquisition for Riverbed, providing us with a leading enterprise-grade Wi-Fi solution, and enhancing SteelConnect to deliver an unmatched SD-WAN offering that will help further fuel our growth in this hot market,” said Jerry M. Kennelly, Riverbed Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

The company plans to offer Xirrus solutions through its robust partner ecosystem. The acquisition of Thousand Oaks, California-based Xirrus is expected to close in April 2017.

With this acquisition, Riverbed’s flagship SD-WAN solution SteelConnect is expected to get a shot in the arm. By adding Xirrus, the power of policy-based orchestration by SteelConnect will be further extended to the wireless edge.

“Legacy approaches to network management have become completely untenable. IT must move beyond the days of managing individual network devices using arcane CLI commands and scripts and instead move to software-defined approaches that are based on global policies, automation and orchestration,” said Paul O’Farrell, Senior Vice President of the Riverbed SteelConnect, SteelHead and SteelFusion Business Unit.

Xirrus is recognized by Gartner in the “Visionaries” quadrant of the Magic Quadrant for the most recent Wired and Wireless LAN Access Infrastructure report. With solutions deployed on tens of thousands of networks and hundreds of thousands of cloud instances, Xirrus customers include some of the best known global companies and recognized brand names, including Microsoft, University of Mississippi, Liverpool Football Club and Paul Hastings Law Firm.

“Together with Riverbed, we embrace a tremendous opportunity to create the world’s first SD-WAN solution that covers the core to the edge of the network,” said Shane Buckley, CEO of Xirrus.

In January 2016, Riverbed acquired Ocedo Networks, a leading SD-WAN provider to accelerate the delivery of its next-gen networking solutions, and launched SteelConnect as an early access offering in April 2016, which included “one-click” connectivity to AWS.

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M&A

CA Technologies Completes Acquisition of Veracode

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CA Technologies today announced it has completed the acquisition of Veracode, a leader in securing web, mobile and third-party applications across the software development lifecycle. The acquisition establishes CA Technologies as a leader in the Secure DevOps market, bridges its Security business with its broad DevOps portfolio and adds to its growing SaaS business.

With the completion of the transaction, Bob Brennan, former chief executive officer, is now general manager of the Veracode business in the company’s product development organization reporting to Ayman Sayed, CA president and chief product officer.

“We provide over 1400 small and large enterprise customers the security they need to confidently innovate with the web and mobile applications they build, buy and assemble, as well as the components they integrate into their environments,” Brennan said.

“By joining forces with CA Technologies, we will continue to better address growing security concerns, and enable them to accelerate delivery of secure software applications that can create new business value.”

Under the terms of the agreement, the transaction is valued at approximately $614 million in cash.

“The acquisition establishes CA Technologies as a leader in the Secure DevOps market, bridges its Security business with its broad DevOps portfolio and adds to its growing SaaS business,” CA Technologies had said in a statement.

CA will provide detail regarding the acquisition’s impact to guidance when it reports fourth quarter earnings in May.

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M&A

Airtel Sells 10.3% Stake In Bharti Infratel To KKR & CPPIB For Rs 6194 Crore

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Bharti Airtel today said it has sold 10.3% stake in its tower arm Bharti Infratel to a consortium for Rs 1694 crore. The consortium is advised by KKR and Canada Pension Plan Investment Borad (CPPIB) and the shares were sold at Rs 325 each.

Bharti Airtel will primarily use the proceeds from this sale to reduce its debt. Following the closure of this transaction, Bharti Airtel’s equity holding in Bharti Infratel stands at 61.7%, and that of KKR and CPPIB at 10.3%.

Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Airtel, said, “This investment by a consortium of marquee long-term investors underlines the confidence of the global investors in India’s growth story and the government’s Digital India initiative in particular. It further reinforces the positive outlook for the telecom infrastructure sector. The long-term investment horizon of the investors aligns well with the capital needs and business cycles of Bharti Infratel.”

This transaction makes it KKR’s second investment in Bharti Infratel. Previously, the funds managed by KKR had invested in the infrastructure firm  during the period 2008 to 2015. Post this transaction, the stake held by KKR and CPPIB (combined) will be the single largest public shareholder block.

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M&A

After Telenor, Airtel Now Acquires Tikona For Rs 1600 Crore

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While Reliance Jio is busy blaming Bharti Airtel on multiple fronts, be on PoIs or over the ‘misleading’ ad of ‘fastest network’ in the country, the Sunil Mittal-led firm is steadily plugging its gaps to retain its supremacy in the Indian 4G market.The latest development on that front was the acquisition of Tikona today.

Airtel acquired Tikona’s 4G business for Rs 1600 crore in cash and debt and the said deal will be closed in two months time.

The services provider today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement with Tikona Digital Networks (“Tikona”) to acquire Tikona’s 4G Business including the Broadband Wireless Access (“BWA”) spectrum and 350 sites, in five telecom circles.

Airtel had acquired Telenor India exactly a month back, on 23 February.

Tikona currently has 20 MHz spectrum in the 2300 MHz band in Gujarat, UP (East), UP (West), Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh circles. Airtel plans to roll-out high speed 4G services on the newly acquired spectrum in the five circles immediately after the closure of the transaction.

As per the agreement, the acquisition of the 4G business in Gujarat, UP (East), UP (West) and Himachal Pradesh will be undertaken by Airtel, while in the Rajasthan circle, it will be accomplished through Airtel’s subsidiary Bharti Hexacom Limited. Post-acquisition, the combined spectrum holding of Airtel in these five circles will be within the spectrum caps prescribed by the Government.

The proposed acquisition will enable Airtel to fill BWA spectrum gaps in the 2300 MHz band in Rajasthan, UP (East) and UP (West), thereby securing a pan India footprint in the band. The deal will significantly bolster Airtel’s spectrum position in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, taking its overall BWA spectrum holding to 30 MHz each in these circles. Post completion of the deal, Airtel will have 30 MHz in the 2300 MHz band in 13 circles giving it tremendous advantage to handle the surging data demand.

“Airtel’s continued focus on strengthening its 4G capabilities across multiple spectrum bands will be complemented with the BWA spectrum acquisition from Tikona. We believe that combining our capacities in TD-LTE and FD-LTE will further bolster our network, and help us provide unmatched high-speed wireless broadband experience to our customers. We remain committed to our vision of leading India’s digital revolution by offering world-class and affordable telecom services through a robust spectrum portfolio spread across multiple bands,” said Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO (India & South Asia), Bharti Airtel.

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M&A

Vodafone Merges With Idea, Owns Lion’s Share

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Vodafone and Idea officially announced their merger on Monday. With this merger the the British telecom major will have 45.1% stake whereas the Aditya Birla Group will be having 26% and other Idea shareholders will own the remaining 28.9%.

In a seemingly complicated merger, the official statement says, the Aditya Birla Group can acquire up to another 9.5% stake from Vodafone to equalise the stakes with each other.

“If the Aditya Birla Group does not equalise its stake, Vodafone will reduce its holding in order to equalise its ownership with that of the Aditya Birla Group. Until equalisation is achieved, the additional shares held by Vodafone will be restricted and votes will be exercised jointly under the terms of the shareholders’ agreement,” the statement added.

The companies have not decided the new name of the combined entity but it said it will be decided soon.

On management structure, the statement said the Aditya Birla Group will have the sole right to appoint the Chairman and Kumar Mangalam Birla becomes the new Chairman. Vodafone retains the right to appoint a CFO where as both the entities will choose a CEO as well as the COO.

In total, the Board of the combined entity will be having 12 directors including three directors appointed by each of the party, and six independent directors.

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M&A

Prysm Acquires Enterprise Automation Solution Firm Kaybus

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Cloud based digital canvas solution provider Prysm on Thursday acquired Kaybus, a company that develops secure, cloud-based knowledge automation software for enterprises. This acquisition would help the company to offer more enhanced and secure enterprise-grade application Suite.

“We are very pleased to announce that both the Kaybus technology and the entire Kaybus team are now joining the Prysm family,” said Amit Jain, CEO of Prysm. “The enterprise-grade quality that our customers have come to expect from us will be further enhanced by this acquisition, and we are working quickly to incorporate the many advantages that Kaybus brings to our application suite.”

The company said the integration of the Kaybus development team and technology into its application suite is already underway and all Kaybus employees, based primarily in California and India, have already joined the firm.

Post integration, the company believes, its application suite for enterprises would add a number of enhancements. A wide range of mission-critical enhancements from the acquisition are expected to benefit end users and application administrators across four key areas:

· Security enhancements – New configuration options and flexible tools for administrators will help ensure adherence to strict enterprise security standards
· Enhanced language flexibility – New user interfaces and documentation in local languages will encourage adoption among end users during global implementations
· Robust search functionality – Enhanced search enables specific content searches across Prysm projects and workspaces, using criteria filters to quickly find data and information
· Enterprise-grade and secure single sign-on – Streamlined approach saves administration time as users leverage sign-on without sacrificing security

“This is a strategic technology acquisition for Prysm,” explained Ira M. Weinstein, senior analyst and partner at Wainhouse Research. “The Prysm environment excels at helping users create and collaborate across various types of content, and integrating the Kaybus technology into its portfolio will make that content searchable, more easily accessible, and more valuable to Prysm customers.”

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