Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Private equity firm acquires AVST, a developer of Unified Communications software

StoneCalibre, a privately funded investment firm based in Los Angeles, has acquired Applied Voice & Speech Technologies (AVST), a developer of software-based Unified Communications (UC) solutions for businesses.

AVST has now been merged with XMedius Solutions Inc. The new company, which will have its headquarters in Montreal, will focus on communication tools that leverage voice and data through IP networks using different types of enterprise-grade solutions, either on-premises or in the cloud. AVST designs, delivers and supports software-based UC voice solutions. XMedius provides secure file exchange software solutions. Together, AVST and XMedius have over 500 partners and nearly 4,500 active customers worldwide.

"We are extremely pleased to announce this compelling transaction, as it brings together two highly complementary companies as part of the StoneCalibre family", said Brian Wall, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of StoneCalibre. "Both have long track records of innovation and commitment to helping their customers build cutting-edge solutions for today's business environments. And, while AVST focuses on improving the productivity of its customers' communications, XMedius enables those communications to be secure."

Monday, November 6, 2017

Broadcom bids $130 billion to acquire Qualcomm

In what could become the largest tech merger to date, Broadcom announced a proposal to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Qualcomm for $70.00 per share in cash and stock, making the offer worth $130 billion in total, a 28% premium over the closing price of Qualcomm common stock on November 2, 2017

Broadcom cites the following benefits of a merged company:

  • Creates a Leading Diversified Communications Semiconductor Company: Qualcomm's cellular business is highly complementary to Broadcom's portfolio, and the combination will create a strong, global company with an impressive portfolio of technologies and products.
  • Accelerates Innovation to Deliver More Advanced Semiconductor Solutions to Global Customers: As a result of enhanced scale, reach and financial flexibility, the combined company will benefit from the ability to accelerate innovation and deliver more advanced semiconductor solutions to its broad global customer base.
  • Compelling Financial Benefits: The combined company will have an enhanced financial profile, benefiting from Broadcom's proven operating model with industry-leading margins. The combined Broadcom and Qualcomm, including NXP, will have pro forma fiscal 2017 revenues of approximately $51 billion and pro forma 2017 EBITDA of approximately $23 billion, including synergies. The transaction is expected to be accretive to Broadcom's Non-GAAP EPS in the first full year after close.

"Broadcom's proposal is compelling for stockholders and stakeholders in both companies. Our proposal provides Qualcomm stockholders with a substantial and immediate premium in cash for their shares, as well as the opportunity to participate in the upside potential of the combined company," said Hock Tan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Broadcom. "This complementary transaction will position the combined company as a global communications leader with an impressive portfolio of technologies and products. We would not make this offer if we were not confident that our common global customers would embrace the proposed combination. With greater scale and broader product diversification, the combined company will be positioned to deliver more advanced semiconductor solutions for our global customers and drive enhanced stockholder value."

Some other notes about the offer:

  1. Hock Tan, Broadcom's CEO, discussed a merger with Qualcomm's CEO, Steve Mollenkopf, as early as August 2016. Broadcom's stock has appreciated 55% since that time.
  2. The offer stands whether or not Qualcomm consummates its acquisition of NXP
  3. Broadcom is confident it will be able to arrange the necessary debt financing for the deal
  4. Broadcom is confident it will receive all necessary regulatory approvals.


Qualcomm to Acquire NXP -- Engines for the Connected World

Qualcomm agreed to acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of NXP for $110.00 per share in cash, representing a total enterprise value of approximately $47 billion. The deal will be financed through cash on hand and $11 billion in new debt. The companies expect total annualized synergies of $500 million within two years of close.

NXP Semiconductors N.V., which headquartered in Eindhoven, Netherlands, employs approximately 45,000 people in more than 35 countries and is known for its mixed-signal semiconductor electronics. The company was known as Philips Semiconductor prior to 2006.

Key markets include automotive, broad-based microcontrollers, secure identification, network processing and RF power. NXP has a broad customer base, serving more than 25,000 customers through its direct sales channel and global network of distribution channel partners.

For Q3 2016, NXP reported revenue of $2.469 billion, up 4.4% over a year ago, and GAAP gross profit of $1.184 billion, up 7.7% over a year ago.

The combined company is expected to have annual revenues of more than $30 billion, serviceable addressable markets of $138 billion in 2020 and leadership positions across mobile, automotive, IoT, security, RF and networking.

"With innovation and invention at our core, Qualcomm has played a critical role in driving the evolution of the mobile industry. The NXP acquisition accelerates our strategy to extend our leading mobile technology into robust new opportunities, where we will be well positioned to lead by delivering integrated semiconductor solutions at scale," said Steve Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm Incorporated. "By joining Qualcomm's leading SoC capabilities and technology roadmap with NXP's leading industry sales channels and positions in automotive, security and IoT, we will be even better positioned to empower customers and consumers to realize all the benefits of the intelligently connected world."

Qualcomm also noted that the acquisition is a tax efficient use of its offshore cash.

http://investors.nxp.com/
http://www.qualcomm

AWS launches its next-gen compute optimized instances

Amazon Web Services announced the availability of C5 instances, its next generation of compute-optimized instances for Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2). The C5 instances feature 3.0 GHz Intel Xeon Scalable processors (Skylake-SP) up to 72 vCPUs, and 144 GiB of memory—twice the vCPUs and memory of previous generation C4 instances. The new C5s are aimed at compute-heavy applications like batch processing, distributed analytics, high-performance computing (HPC), ad serving, highly scalable multiplayer gaming, and video encoding.

The C5 instances also introduce a number of unique features:

  • networking is provided through an Elastic Network Adapter (ENA), a scalable network interface built by AWS to provide direct access to its networking hardware. 
  • additional dedicated hardware and network bandwidth for Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) enables C5 instances to offer high-performance storage through the scalable NVM Express (NVMe) interface. 
  • a new, lightweight hypervisor allows applications to use practically all of the compute and memory resources of a server, delivering reduced cost and even better performance. 

AWS is offering C5 instances in six sizes—with the four smallest instance sizes offering substantially more Amazon EBS and network bandwidth than the previous generation of compute-optimized instances.

Intel partners with AMD on Embedded Multi-Die Interconnect Bridge for GPUs

Intel announced a partnership with AMD to tie together its high-performance processors with discrete graphics processors using the Intel Embedded Multi-Die Interconnect Bridge (EMIB) technology along with a new power-sharing framework.
The goal is to reduce the usual silicon footprint to less than half that of standard discrete components on a motherboard.

The first implementation matches the new 8th Gen Intel Core Core H-series processor, second generation High Bandwidth Memory (HBM2) and a custom-to-Intel third-party discrete graphics chip from AMD’s Radeon Technologies Group – all in a single processor package.

“Our collaboration with Intel expands the installed base for AMD Radeon GPUs and brings to market a differentiated solution for high-performance graphics,” said Scott Herkelman, vice president and general manager, AMD Radeon Technologies Group. “Together we are offering gamers and content creators the opportunity to have a thinner-and-lighter PC capable of delivering discrete performance-tier graphics experiences in AAA games and content creation applications. This new semi-custom GPU puts the performance and capabilities of Radeon graphics into the hands of an expanded set of enthusiasts who want the best visual experience possible.”

Seaborn and IOX Cable plot subsea route between U.S. and India via South Atlantic

Seaborn Networks and IOX Cable Ltd unveiled plans for the first next-generation subsea fiber optic route between the U.S and India that will interconnect in South Africa and Brazil.

This unique route via the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans will connect the U.S. with three BRICS countries and Mauritius, providing fewer hops through fewer countries than existing alternative routes.

Seaborn recently activated its Seabras-1 direct subsea system between New York and São Paulo. It is planning a new direct subsea system between Brazil - Argentina (RFS Q4 2018); and SABR, a new subsea system between Cape Town, South Africa and Seabras-1 (RFS 2019). 

IOX is the developer of the IOX Cable System ("IOX System"), the first next-generation subsea network interconnecting South Africa, Mauritius and India (RFS 2019). IOX have commenced work for the cable route survey, and once completed will provide a direct route between South Africa and India via Mauritius.  Seaborn's SABR and the IOX System will interconnect in South Africa.

The Seabras-1 + SABR + IOX System route will be available exclusively through Seaborn and IOX.

"We are extremely pleased to work with IOX to provide this unique and highly secure route," said Larry Schwartz, Chairman & CEO of Seaborn. "This alliance will reshape the global communications landscape for the Southern Hemisphere."


Stonepeak to acquire majority stake in euNetworks

Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners, a private equity firm based in New York, will acquire a majority interest in euNetworks. Existing euNetworks investors, including Columbia Capital and Greenspring Associates, will continue to hold a material interest in the company. The purchase price was not disclosed.
Under the deal, Stonepeak will also provide euNetworks with up to $500 million of committed growth capital for both organic and inorganic development.

Brady Rafuse will remain the Chief Executive Officer of the company and the existing euNetworks investors will continue to hold a material interest in the company’s new capital structure.

euNetworks owns and operates dense fibre-based metropolitan networks in 14 cites, connected by an intercity backbone covering 49 cities in 15 countries. These networks directly connect into over 300 data centres and more than 1,300 further cell towers, cable landing stations and enterprise buildings.

Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners currently manages approximately $11.3 billion of capital for its investors.

“I am thrilled that Stonepeak is becoming an investor in euNetworks,” said Brady Rafuse, Chief Executive Officer of euNetworks. “This agreement offers Stonepeak the platform to enter the bandwidth market, and it provides euNetworks with a fantastic opportunity to accelerate growth and deliver more for our customers. We have demonstrated our ability to remain focused on what we do well, while investing in and developing our network footprint. But we’ve seen the nature of the opportunity continue to grow exponentially and see Stonepeak as the right partner for the next phase of our growth. We are genuinely excited at what this transaction and partnership offers our customers, our people and our existing investors.”

Mellanox intros Innova-2 FPGA-based adapter

Mellanox Technologies introduced its Innova-2 product family of FPGA-based smart network adapters for range of applications including security, cloud, Big Data, deep learning, NFV and high-performance computing.

The Innova-2 adapters will be offered in multiple configurations, either open for customers’ specific applications or pre-programmed for security applications with encryption acceleration such as IPsec, TLS/SSL and more. The Innova-2 family of dual-port Ethernet and InfiniBand network adapters supports network speeds of 10, 25, 40, 50 and 100Gb/s, while the PCIe Gen4 and OpenCAPI (Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface) host connections offer low-latency and high-bandwidth.

Mellanox said this new line of Innova-2 adapters delivers 6X higher performance while reducing total cost of ownership by 10X when compared to alternative options. The new products combine the company's ConnectX-5 25/40/50/100Gb/s Ethernet and InfiniBand network adapters with a Xilinx UltraScale™ FPGA accelerator.

“The Innova-2 product line brings new levels of acceleration to Mellanox intelligent interconnect solutions,” said Gilad Shainer vice president of Marketing, Mellanox Technologies. “We are pleased to equip our customers with new capabilities to develop their own innovative ideas, whether related to security, big-data analytics, deep learning training and inferencing, cloud and other applications. The solution allows our customers to achieve unprecedented performance and flexibility for the most demanding market needs.”

Zayo posts $643.5 million of consolidated revenue, up 3% annually

Zayo reported $643.5 million of consolidated revenue for the first quarter of its fiscal 2018, including $515.8 million from the Communications Infrastructure segments and $127.7 million from the Allstream segment. Net income amounted to $23.2 million, including $11.5 million from the Communications Infrastructure segments and $11.7 million from the Allstream segment.

Some highlights:
  • As of September 30, 2017, the Company had $291.2 million of cash and $442.2 million available under its revolving credit facility.
  • Business at its Allstream unit continues to decline.
  • Fiber Solutions, Colocation fundamentals are strong; Transport, and Enterprise Networks lagging.
  • In Enterprise services, Ethernet is performing well, driven by connectivity between data centers and into cloud environments. Managed WAN is mixed, as legacy ELI and Allstream customers experiencing higher churn because of off-net & legacy MPLS.
  • Zayo continues to evaluate a potential conversion to an REIT structure.
  • The company is lowering its Dec17q EBITDA guidance.

Symantec acquires SurfEasy for personal VPN

Symantec has acquired SurfEasy, a leading Virtual Private Network (VPN) provider, from Opera Software, its parent company. Financial terms were not disclosed.

SurfEasy's personal VPN ensures online privacy and security on smartphones, tablets and computers. SurfEasy has been an existing OEM technology provider to Symantec, powering Symantec’s Norton WiFi Privacy product with VPN technology.

SurfEasy will become part of Symantec’s Consumer Business Unit, which includes the Norton and LifeLock brands, bringing VPN to the portfolio of Consumer Digital Safety solutions.

“SurfEasy has been a great partner to Symantec and we look forward to bringing their expertise and leading technology inside the company,” said Greg Clark, Symantec CEO. “The addition of SurfEasy to our Consumer business will benefit our customers as we continue to strengthen our Norton WiFi Privacy solution so consumers can use public Wi-Fi without fear of exposing their information to cyber criminals.”

NeoPhotonics' Q3 revenue drops to $71 million

NeoPhotonics reported Q3 revenue of $71.1 million, in comparison to $73.2 million in the prior quarter, and down from $103.3 million in the same period last year. Gross margin was 14.8%, compared to 22.9% in the prior quarter. There was a net loss of$18.2 million, compared to a net loss of $9.3 million in the prior quarter.

We are focused on growth initiatives in telecom, data center and cloud markets, as well as operational execution to lower our breakeven level as China continues with steady though muted demand,” said Tim Jenks, Chairman and CEO of NeoPhotonics. “Growth drivers in our markets include Metro deployments across the globe, China high speed build-outs in advance of 5G wireless, and data centers and big data applications that are embracing our higher speed technologies and leverage NeoPhotonics’ core strengths,” concluded Mr. Jenks.
  • In October 2017, citing uncertainty in demand from China, NeoPhotonic announced a set of restructuring actions, including a reduction in force, real estate consolidation, a write-down of inventory for certain programs and assets and a write-down of idle assets. NeoPhotonics also trimmed its financial outlook for the third quarter of 2017, saying revenue is now expected to be in the range of $69 to $71 million, with GAAP gross margin of approximately 10% to 13% and GAAP loss per share of $0.50 to $0.40, inclusive of restructuring charges. Previously, the company had stated revenue expectations for the third quarter of 2017 to be $70 to $76 million, GAAP gross margin of 23% to 26%, and GAAP net loss per share of $0.21 to $0.11 and non-GAAP gross margin of 24% to 27%.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

SoftBank to Increase Stake in Sprint

SoftBank announced its intention to increase its stake in Sprint through open market transactions or otherwise, subject to market conditions and other factors.

Masayoshi Son, Chairman & CEO of SBG and Chairman of Sprint, said, “We are entering an era where billions of new connected devices and sensors will come online throughout the United States. Continuing to own a world-class mobile network is central to our vision of ubiquitous connectivity. Sprint is a critical part of our plan to ensure that we can deliver our vision to American consumers and we are very confident in its future.”

Sprint lands MVNO deal with Altice USA

One day after terminating merger talks with T-Mobile, Sprint announced a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) agreement with Altice USA, which has more than 4.9 million residential and business customers and an especially strong presence in the New York metro area.

Under the new multi-year strategic agreement Altice USA will utilize Sprint’s network to provide mobile voice and data services to its customers throughout the nation, and Sprint will leverage the Altice USA broadband platform to accelerate the densification of its network.

Sprint said it will provide Altice USA with access to its full MVNO model, allowing Altice USA to connect its network to the Sprint Nationwide network and have control over the Altice USA mobile features, functionality, and customer experience. In exchange, Altice USA will leverage its network to support Sprint’s network densification efforts and establish a differentiated network operating model going forward.   

“We are incredibly excited to work with Altice USA on this innovative win-win solution that benefits both of our companies,” said Sprint President & CEO Marcelo Claure. “As content and connectivity continue to converge, we believe this approach will be a model for future strategic arrangements across multiple industries including cable, tech and others.”

“Sprint is an ideal strategic partner for Altice USA given our shared vision around converged customer experiences,” said Altice USA Chairman & CEO Dexter Goei. “Altice is a convergent leader with more than 26 million mobile customers in countries including France, Portugal, Israel, and the Dominican Republic, and we are excited to bring our global expertise to the U.S. to enhance and strengthen our offerings. Working together we will be able to capitalize on Sprint’s vast mobile network, which fits well alongside Altice USA’s deep WiFi network, and leverage Altice’s global mobile experience to deliver greater value, more benefits and seamless connectivity for our U.S. customers.”

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Riverbed integrates its SD-WAN with Zscaler cloud security

Riverbed is integrating its StellConnect SD-WAN solution with the Zscaler cloud security platform.

Specifically, Riverbed and Zscaler have integrated Zscaler into the application-defined policy and orchestration engine via the SteelConnect graphical user interface (GUI), streamlining the approach for identifying and steering traffic to the Zscaler Security Cloud. The solution dynamically chooses the optimal Zscaler Data Center, with more than 100 worldwide, to use for each site in the SteelConnect network, providing enterprises with simplicity and power for expanding their use of cloud-based services and Internet Broadband across their hybrid WAN.

The companies said their joint solution enables enterprises to accelerate the adoption of cloud and incorporate Internet broadband-based transport in branch and remote office business locations without compromising network security.

“Enterprises are in the midst of a major transition from legacy, hardware-based approaches to software-defined networking in order to keep pace with changing business needs in today’s cloud-first world. However, as today’s hybrid IT landscape becomes more distributed, managing and securing enterprise networks have introduced new challenges,” said Jerry M. Kennelly, Chairman and CEO of Riverbed Technology. “With native, seamless integration of Zscaler security with Riverbed SteelConnect, businesses can now leverage the simplicity of policy-based network orchestration with the power and reach of cloud-based security across remote business locations.”

“The rise of cloud and mobile technologies has challenged enterprises to evolve perimeter-centric networking and security approaches that no longer serve them,” said Jay Chaudhry, CEO and founder of Zscaler. “The seamless integration of Zscaler’s cloud security platform with Riverbed’s SD-WAN solution lets companies securely adopt a cloud-first strategy, simplifying branch operations while achieving unrivaled performance, agility, and control.”

Sprint and T-Mobile terminate merger discusssions

Sprint and T-Mobile confirmed in a joint press release that merger discussions have ended after failing to reach an agreement.

Sprint President and CEO and SoftBank Board member Marcelo Claure said: “While we couldn’t reach an agreement to combine our companies, we certainly recognize the benefits of scale through a potential combination. However, we have agreed that it is best to move forward on our own. We know we have significant assets, including our rich spectrum holdings, and are accelerating significant investments in our network to ensure our continued growth. 

The prospect of combining with Sprint has been compelling for a variety of reasons, including the potential to create significant benefits for consumers and value for shareholders. However, we have been clear all along that a deal with anyone will have to result in superior long-term value for T-Mobile’s shareholders compared to our outstanding stand-alone performance and track record,” said John Legere, President and CEO of T-Mobile US, Inc. “Going forward, T-Mobile will continue disrupting this industry and bringing our proven Un-carrier strategy to more customers and new categories – ultimately redefining the mobile Internet as we know it. We’ve been out-growing this industry for the last 15 quarters, delivering outstanding value for shareholders, and driving significant change across wireless.  We won’t stop now.”

Friday, November 3, 2017

Aquantia rises 6% in IPO, raising $61m for its 10GBase-T PHYs

The share price of Aquantia, which offers 10GBASE-T PHY and other Ethernet solutions, rose 6% on its first day of trading on the NYSE under the symbol "AQ" to close at $9.51.

The company sold 6,818,000 shares of its common stock in the IPO, raising $61 million.

Aquantia is based in San Jose, California.

Telia Carrier activates PoP in QTS' mega data center

Telia Carrier activated a connectivity node in QTS' mega data center in Richmond, Virginia.

The data center is a 1.3 million square foot facility with more than 550,000 square feet of raised floor capacity. The 220-acre QTS campus features 12 megawatts currently available with the ability to expand to more than 400 megawatts.

Telia Carrier's extensive fiber network and advanced network services further expand QTS' ability to provide low latency connectivity and reinforce QTS as the largest provider in Richmond with more than one terabit of on-net capacity.

The companies said the facility's proximity to Ashburn, Virginia to the north and the new Virginia Beach Cable Landing (VBCL) to the south, make it particularly attractive.

"The Telia Carrier partnership allows QTS to provide optimum proximity and connectivity for Richmond's thriving business community including a growing number of multinational corporations," said Brent Bensten, Chief Technology Officer, Product Development, QTS. "As Richmond's largest data center, QTS' partnership with the world's number one network backbone provider is a significant addition to our expanding connectivity capabilities."   

"As one of the world's leading telecommunications providers, Telia Carrier empowers highly flexible and scalable IT infrastructure partners backed by the highest levels of high-touch enterprise support," said Art Kazmierczak, Director Business and Network Development, Americas for Telia Carrier.  "We are pleased to partner with QTS and expand the availability of our highly compelling suite of international network services in the Mid-Atlantic region."


QTS plans mega data center campus in Ashburn


QTS Realty Trust has kicked off development a mega data center campus in Ashburn, Virginia. Phase 1 of its multi-tenant development, representing approximately four megawatts of critical sellable capacity, is expected to come online by mid-2018. This year, QTS acquired 52 acres of land in Ashburn, Virginia in two parcels for a total purchase price of $53 million.  The first parcel, representing 24 acres and a $17 million purchase price, closed...

MAREA redefines the transAtlantic subsea bandwidth equation


Construction of the highest-capacity subsea cable to cross the Atlantic is now complete. The 6,600 km MAREA subsea cable, which was jointly funded by Microsoft and Facebook, links Virginia Beach, Virginia to Bilbao, Spain. The cable will be managed by Telxius, Telefónica’s new infrastructure company. The cable features eight fiber pairs and an initial estimated design capacity of 160 Tbps. The cable takes a more southern route than other transatlantic...


Continental acquires Argus Cyber Security

Continental has acquired Argus Cyber Security (Argus), a start-up focused on vehicle cyber security. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Argus, which was founded in 2013, is headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel and has a team of more than 70 people. The company has 38 granted and pending patents in the area of cyber security for automobiles.

Continental said the acquisition the acquisition will help it to better address the needs of vehicle manufacturers and suppliers around the world in defining and implementing strategies and countermeasures to minimize the exposure of vehicles to cyber risks. The goal is to provide multi-layered, end-to-end security and services including intrusion detection and prevention, attack surface protection and fleet cyber security health monitoring and management via a security operations center (SOC) to protect vehicles in the field over their entire lifespan. The companies will also provide software updates over-the-air solutions.

Argus will be a part of EB, Continental's stand-alone software company and will continue to engage in commercial relations with all automotive suppliers globally.

"Only secure mobility is intelligent mobility. With the acquisition of Argus Cyber Security we are enhancing our abilities to directly develop and offer solutions and services with some of the world's leading automotive cyber security experts to our customers around the globe in order to truly make mobility more intelligent and secure," says Helmut Matschi, member of the Executive Board at Continental and head of the Interior division.

"Argus was founded with a vision to protect all vehicles on the road from cyber threats. To this end we have developed the most comprehensive automotive cyber security offering in the industry and enjoy global recognition of our leadership. Joining forces with Continental and EB will enable us to further accelerate the realization of that vision," says Ofer Ben-Noon, Co-Founder and CEO of Argus Cyber Security.

Broadcom to move HQ back to U.S. from Singapore

Broadcom announced plans to re-establish itself as a U.S. corporation. It is currently domiciled in Singapore for tax purposes.

Broadcom said the redomiciliation will occur whether or not there is corporate tax reform in the United States, although the final form and timing of the redomiciliation will be affected by any corporate tax reform.

Hock Tan, Broadcom's president and CEO, announced the decision at a White House event with President Trump.

“We believe the USA presents the best place for Broadcom to create shareholder value,” said Hock Tan. “We expect the tax reform plan effectively to level the playing field for large multinational corporations headquartered in the United States and to allow us to go all in on U.S. redomiciliation.  However, we intend to redomicile to the United States even if there is no corporate tax reform.”

See also