By: Paul Booth


2022 has been yet another remarkable year for the technology industry. According to Gartner, IT spending is expected to total $4.4 trillion, an increase of 4% from 2021.

The international market was dominated by the increasing involvement of the PE/investment community in the ICT sector; the Elon Musk/Twitter scenario; another spree by Accenture, including 24 acquisitions; the proposed acquisition by Broadcom of VMware; and the ongoing global investigations/fines of the ‘big’ tech boys. Locally, again, it was the acquisition/investment/disinvestment activity of Naspers and/or Prosus.

As has been the norm over the past few years, 2022 has again seen the emergence of numerous start-ups; several IPOs globally, although not as many as in previous years; heavy private equity activity; and a feverish merger/acquisition scene.

From a business and technology perspective, cyber security, AI/analytics, the continued move towards the digital world, the internet of things (IOT) and robotics are still the key short-term opportunities.

In addition, consolidation continues apace, particularly in the AI/analytics, cyber security, semiconductor and telecommunications/communications fields, while many of the ‘bigger’ boys continue to streamline their operations by either splitting off, listing or selling off non-strategic elements of their businesses, while also trying to discover and bring on board new initiatives.

The local scene

Despite this year seeing the delisting of Adapt IT, Alaris and Silverbridge, the technology market remains buoyant, with several new entrants appearing in the local market, although some indirectly, including Cellulant, CostCertified, CyborgIntell, Mesh.Trade, a Netherlands-based fintech firm, Salesforce, ScienceLogic via CorrServe and Sigfox South Africa.

As usual, there was a healthy merger/acquisition, proposed acquisition and investment activity, including multiple ones by Datatec and its subsidiaries, and Naspers/Prosus. Other deals included the acquisitions/proposed acquisitions by +OneX of EUCafrica, a South African Azure solutions provider; Acumen Software of 25% of the commerce platform provider, Kinektek; Adapt IT Holdings of Mauritius-based AGILEUM Hospitality; ADP of Sage South Africa’s payroll outsourcing business; Bachique 842 of EOH Mthombo’s Hoonar Tekwurks Consulting, Managed Integrity Evaluation, Xpert Decision Systems and Zenaptix (R417 million); Bitventure of EasyDebit, a smart payment provider; Braintree of the Xbox business of Vox; Bridgepoint Development Capital of Datatec’s Analysys Mason; Capital Appreciation of the Responsive Technology group, a digital solutions group that designs and develops digital applications with clients across SA, the USA, Europe and the UK; Connect of Pivotal Data and illation, South African providers of enterprise communication, customer experience (CX) and cloud contact centre solutions; Convergence Partners of Syrex, a provider of hyperconverged cloud technology solutions in SA; Guardian Eye of the Activate Group, an internet of things as a service provider; Huge Group of Tethys Mobile, formerly known as Virgin Mobile SA; iSON Xperiences of a majority control of CSS South Africa; Metrofile of IronTree Internet Services, which provides data management services including cloud backup, disaster recovery and specialised server hosting in a private cloud; MiX Telematics’ North American subsidiary of Trimble’s Field Service management business in North America; MRI software, a real estate software solutions provider, of the TPN Group, a registered credit bureau serving the residential, commercial and education markets in South Africa; MultiChoice of Namola, an emergency-assist organisation; Net1 SA of Ovobix and Luxanio, investment holding companies that provide services such as automated cash management, card payment solutions, as well as prepaid and value-added services, as well as unsecured short-term business loans to the South African retail sector; RCS, the consumer finance arm of BNP Paribas, of South African online credit provider Mobicred; the Reach Group, a specialist provider of communications infrastructure management solutions to landlords, property managers and telecoms providers, of Jasco Property Solutions; Redwill ICT of Opentel, a provider of ISP services; Reunert Applied Electronics Holdings of Etion Create, a leading original design manufacturing company, specialising in the design, manufacture, integration and support of advanced technology (R168 million); ROX Equity Partners, a UK-based private equity company, of SilverBridge, with the latter becoming the first subsidiary in the newly established Alula Technologies Group, which provides solutions to the insurance and health industries; Seacom of EOH’s Network Solutions and Hymax businesses (R144.9 million); Smollan of ATG, a software developer and supplier to the retail and supply chain sectors; Tech Mahindra of the stakes of Falcorp Technologies, its joint venture partner in SA (R62 million); Xerotech of Altron Document Solutions; and Yoco of Nona Digital, a fintech and Web3 software development agency.

China continued its tightening of the reins on its technology companies.

Other key events included the R197 million investment by Alitheia IDF, Africa’s first and largest gender-lens private equity fund, in SweepSouth, an online home services platform with presence across Africa; Altron selling the ATM hardware and support business portion of its Altron Managed Solutions division to NCR (R183 million); the R272 million investment by Arise, an African investment company, in iiDENTIFii, a Cape Town-based biometrics tech firm; the R1.3 billion investment led by Arrowroot Capital, with participation from Kennedy Lewis Investment Management, Endeavor Global and Harvest in SA-founded Clickatell; the announcement that Bidorbuy and uAfrica are to merge to create a new e-commerce platform called the Bob Group; UK-based Chattermill, a unified customer intelligence platform, forming a partnership with YouKnow Digital to expand its operations into Africa; Crossfin Holdings acquiring a meaningful stake in Vantage Africa; Dark Fibre Africa and Vumatel’s two fibre network assets being managed under a new infrastructure company, Maziv, with Dietlof Mare as CEO; Cognition selling its 50.01% stake in Private Property to BetterHome Group, ooba and Fledge Capital (R150 million); DCC agreeing to sell the business to a consortium headed by Carlos Ferreira; DiDi Chuxing closing shop in SA; Dynamic Recovery Services rebranding as CYBER1 Solutions South Africa; Cape Town-based unified communications service provider Far South Networks being placed under liquidation; Groupe Canal+ increasing its stake in the MultiChoice Group to 20.1%; the High Court of South Africa dismissing a $4.2 billion Turkcell lawsuit against MTN; Huge Group taking a stake in Glovent Solutions and planning to make a significant investment in Interfile Group, a specialist software company focused on e-government and electronic bill presentment and payment; the R166 million investment led by Knife Capital in DataProphet, an artificial intelligence start-up; the investment (40%) by Mteto Nyati, ex-Altron Group CEO, in BSG, (Business Systems Group), a South African business and technology consulting company; the launch of llitha Telecommunications, promising affordable internet in underserviced areas; Legacy Africa Capital Partners acquiring a 30% equity stake in Continuous Power Africa; MTN selling its Afghanistan business to Lebanon-based M1 New Ventures ($35 million), thus nearing an exit for the company from the Middle East; Net1 SA changing its name to Lesaka Technologies; Panda Security Africa completing its transformation to Dolos; PAPE Fund 3 investing in Entersekt; Striata South Africa rebranding to Tilte, in line with its expanded offering; Telkom exiting the streaming media business and agreeing to “hand over” its TelkomOne platform to the SABC, which will rename it SABC+; Vox, formerly known as Vox Telecom (and before that the DataPro Group), changing its name to Vivica Holdings; Vumatel acquiring a 45% non-controlling stake in HeroTel, a fixed wireless internet service provider; and the University of Johannesburg’s vice-chancellor and principal professor Tshilidzi Marwala winning the ICT sector’s coveted award, the IT Personality of the Year Award, with Intikhab Shaik, head of technology and solutions delivery at SARS, winning Visionary CIO, the other top prize.

Key appointments during the year included new country managers/GMs/CEOs/MDs at many companies including Acer, Altron, Acer, Basalt Technology, Broadband Infraco (Interim), Cisco, Cyber1 Solutions, Dax Data and Dolos, First Distribution, ICASA, IHS Holding, IoT.nxt, ITA, Kocho SA, Kyocera Document Solutions, LAWtrust, Lenovo, Link Africa, Luno, MetroFibre Networkx, MICT SETA, Mustek, Netstar, Nexio, PayFast, SAS, SITA, Syspro, Telspace Africa, Vodacom’s soon-to-be-launched TowerCo; Altron Systems Integration, Vodacom SA and XLink. David Kan, CEO of Mustek, Jacques Malherbe, CTO of the Axiz Group and Denis Smit, a director of BMI-T, passed away.

The African scene

The African scene was again dominated by activities involving the telecommunications players on the continent, particularly with individual countries trying to enforce foreign owners to locally list their shares in the relevant markets.

However, unlike many of the previous years, the acquisition/investment activity in Africa was more buoyant and included Algerian National Investment Fund of Veon’s 45.57% stake in Omnium Telecom Algeria ($682 million); Digital Realty of a majority stake (55%) in Teraco ($3.5 billion); Host Africa of DigiServ Technologies, a web hosting company and EAC Directory, a Kenyan hosting company; Mauritius-based Hyperclear, a technology investment company, of Principa; Liquid Intelligent Technologies of Telrad, an Israeli-based technology company; MFS Africa of Global Technology Partners; Paratus Telecommunications of Broadband Botswana Internet; Seacom of selected infrastructure assets from Africell in Uganda that wound down its operations last year; and Telecel Group of Vodafone’s operations in Ghana.

Other activities in Africa included Airtel Africa offloading about 1 400 mobile sites across Tanzania to a joint venture between SBA Communications and Paradigm Infrastructure ($176 million); a $250 million investment led by Avenir Growth Capital and Tiger Global in Nigeria-based Flutterwave, an Africa-focused fintech firm; Bravado Gaming entering the MEA gaming industry with the setting up of bases in SA, Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia; DVT opening an office in Kenya; Entravision, a leading global advertising, media and ad-tech solutions company, expanding into Kenya via its Africa-based digital business unit, Entravision 365 Digital; Ethiopia reactivating the process of selling a 40% stake in state-owned Ethio Telecom and a separate plan to issue a second full telecommunications licence; Exclusive Networks Africa opening an office in Lagos, Nigeria; the Gambian government issuing a fifth mobile network operator licence to locally owned Giraffe Telecom; Google investing in its first ever Africa product development centre in Nairobi and in Lori Systems, an East African e-logistics company; a $400 000 investment by Cape Town-based HAVAÍC in ShopEx, a Nigerian omni-channel direct-to-consumer retailer; Nigeria requiring social media platforms to open local offices; Mono, a Nigerian fintech start-up setting up operations in Kenya; Société Générale closing its mobile money solution YUP in Africa; Naspers’ PayU and Egypt’s largest bank investing in Lucky, a fintech start-up; and Twitter shutting its office in Ghana.

In addition, many new EMEA/regional/African appointments were made during the year, particularly in the telecommunications sector as well as from companies such as Africa Data Centres, Cisco, Commvault, Dimension Data MEA, DVT, Entravision, Everbridge, Gigamon, Guidewire, IBM, Infinidat, Infor, Insight Enterprises, Kyndryl, Letshego Holdings, Logicalis, Open Access Data Centres, Palantir Technologies, Palo Alto Networks, Paratus, Park Place Technologies, SAP, Splunk, Uber Westcon-Comstor and Wipro.

The international scene

The international scene continues to be dominated by the big tech boys, ie, Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft, particularly regarding their skirmishes with anti-trust regulators and the escalating investigations that are continuing to take place across the globe. In addition, China continued its tightening of the reins on its technology companies and specifically their acquisitions and potential listings.

However, despite the above, this year has again epitomised a healthy and growing ICT industry with significant consolidations across many sectors. At least 20 or so technology or technology-oriented private equity/investment companies have been involved with at least four agreed/proposed acquisition deals and/or major investments. These include Accenture, Alphabet/Google, Amazon, Apple, Bentley Systems, Capgemini, Cognizant Technology Solutions, Converge Technology Solutions, Francisco Partners, Fortra (was Help/Systems), IBM, Insight Partners, KKR, Microsoft, NTT Data, Park Place Technologies, Softbank, The 20 MSP, Thoma Bravo, Vista Equity Partners and Wipro.

The most significant happenings were the acquisition/agreements to purchase by Broadcom of VMware ($69.1 billion including debt); Brookfield and DigitalBridge of Deutsche Telekom’s majority stake (51%) in GD Towers (€17.5 billion); DigitalBridge Group of Switch, a data centre operator ($11 billion); affiliates of Elliott Management and Vista Equity Partners of Citrix Systems ($16.5 billion); Elon Musk of Twitter ($44 billion); Microsoft of “Call of Duty” videogame maker Activision Blizzard ($68 billion); Take-Two Interactive of Zynga ($12.7 billion); and Thoma Bravo of Anaplan, the provider of software that helps businesses model different forecasting outcomes ($10.7 billion); and SailPoint Technologies, a cyber security firm ($6.12 billion).

Other major international activities included Amazon closing its $8.5 billion deal to buy MGM, the fabled movie maker; Apple being hit with EU anti-trust charge over its payment technology; AT&T spinning off WarnerMedia in a $43 billion transaction to merge its media properties with Discovery; Citrix and Tibco Software completing their $16.5 billion merger; the EU lawmakers finalising the structure of the Digital Markets Act, which threatens the power of big tech firms such as AWS, Google and Meta; Microsoft completing its acquisition of Nuance Communications ($19.7 billion); NCR planning to separate into two independent, publicly traded companies – one focused on digital commerce, the other on ATMs; and Nvidia’s plan to acquire British chip designer Arm for $40 billion being abandoned.

In addition, there were an unprecedented number of IPOs during the year, including the listings of Acquisition Corporation (Singapore), Actelis Networks (Nasdaq), AMTD Digital (NYSE), Anghami (Nasdaq), ASR Microelectronics (STAR market China), Beamr Imaging (Nasdaq), Blibli (Indonesia), Castellum (NYSE), Cerberus Cyber Sentinel (Nasdaq), China Mobile (Shanghai), Credo (Nasdaq), Deezer (France), Direct Digital Holdings (Nasdaq), Elm (Saudi Arabia), Getty Images (NYSE), GigaCloud Technology (Nasdaq), GoGoX (Hong Kong), GRINM Semiconductor Materials (China’s Nasdaq-like STAR market), Hwatsing Technology (China), Hygon Information Technology (Shanghai), Ji’an Mankun Technology (Shenzhen Stock Exchange’s ChiNext board), Jianzhi Education Technology Group Company (Nasdaq), Kaynes Technology (India), KWESST Micro Systems (Nasdaq), Laser Photonics (Nasdaq), LoopMedia (NYSE), Lytus Technologies (Nasdaq), Maris Tech (Nasdaq), Mobilicom (Nasdaq), Nano Labs (Nasdaq), OneConnect (Hong Kong), Ostin Technology (Nasdaq), Primarius Technology (STAR market China), Qingdao AInnovation Technology Group (Singapore), Rigetti Computing (Nasdaq), SatixFy Communications (NYSE), Shanghai United Imaging Healthcare Co (China’s Nasdaq-like STAR market), Socionext (Japan), Syrma SGS Technology (India), Tencent Music Entertainment Group (Hong Kong), TPG Global (Nasdaq), Transwarp (China’s Nasdaq-like STAR market), Vertex Technology, Visionary Education Technology Holdings (Nasdaq), VSO Electronics (Taiwan), Warner Bros Discovery (Nasdaq), Wearable Devices (Nasdaq), ZeroFox (NYSE) and Zhihu (Hong Kong).

Major international appointments included new CEOs at 5N Plus, 8×8,, Adjust, ADP, Air IT, Allegro MicroSystems, Altice USA, AMC Networks, American Tower Europe, Ampito Group, Anaplan, ARM, Arrow Electronics, Atos, AudioEye, Avaya, Axcient, BATM Advanced, Birlasoft, Boomi, Brightcove, Calix, Cardlytics, Carlyle Group (interim), Catheon Gaming, Charter Communications, Chinadata Group, Cloud Software Group, CLPS Technology, Cognite, Cohesity, Comau, Comscore, Comtech Telecommunications, ContextLogic (interim), CWT, Daisy, Denali Advanced Integration, Diebold Nixdorf, DocuSign, Domo, Econocom, Eir, Elastic, Enfusion (interim), ESCO Technologies, Eutelsat America, Everbridge, Everspin, Exela Technologies, ExtraHop, Fastly, FIS, Five9, G.Network, Gamma Communications, GE Digital, GlobalLogic, GoTo, GrafTech International, Ingram Micro, Intelsat, Interface, International Game Technology, Involta, Jabil,, Keysight Technologies, Kinley, Laserfiche, Lazada, Litera, LogicMonitor, Lumen Technologies, Mainline Information Systems (interim), ManTech International, McAfee, Melillo Consulting, MicroStrategy, NCC Group, Nest DLP, Netrix, NetWitness, NSO Group (interim), One Identity, Orange, Partner Communications, Paychex, PeopleFun, Percona, Pinterest, Quorum, Quotient Technology, Qumu, Rackspace, Red Hat, Red River, Rigetti Computing, Rogers Communications, Royal Philips, Saga Communications (interim), Salesforce, Sasken Technologies, SatixFy Communications, SecureAuth, Securonix, Sharp, Shutterstock, Signal, Slack, Smarsh, SoftBank Group International, Soitec, Sonata Software, SonicWall, Sopra Splunk, Steria, Swisscom, System1 Group, TEAM, Telstra, Teradyne, TIM (Italy), Topcoder, Toshiba, TTEC Holdings, UiPath, upGrad, Verisk, Verizon Business, Vertiv, Visa, Vishay Intertechnology, Vodafone Group (interim), Walt Disney, Warner Music Group, Weave Communications, Xerox, Yandex (acting) and Zebra Technologies; and, unfortunately, there were several deaths, including those of David Boggs, co-creator of the ethernet standard; Ed Christian, founder and CEO of Saga Communications; Geoffrey Hedrick, founder, chairman and CEO of Innovative Solutions & Support; Nobuyuki Idei, urbane former chief executive of Sony Group; Kazuo Inamori, founder of Kyocera and KDDI; Kim Jung-ju, founder of Nexon, a gaming giant; Loretta Rogers, a former director of Rogers Communications; Sherwin Seligsohn, founder of Universal Display; John Visentin, CEO of Xerox; and Stephen Wilhite, creator of the Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) format in the 1980s.

In Nasdaq’s annual shuffle of its Nasdaq 100 index, Warner Bros, Discovery and GlobalFoundries were among those added to the index, while Baidu, DocuSign, NetEase, Skyworks Solutions, Splunk and VeriSign were among those removed.

In addition, Lenovo retained the number one PC slot; and Apple remained the number one technology company by revenue and the most valuable company by market capitalisation.

2023 and beyond

The international scene next year looks to be another exciting one, with continued consolidations, particularly within the AI, IOT, semiconductor and telecommunications sectors. Also, expect to see the finalisations or otherwise of the Broadcom/VMware and Microsoft/Activision deals; Facebook finally offloading GIF-maker Giphy as ordered by the UK competition board; further developments regarding the anti-trust cases involving Facebook and Google; and new legislation specifically targeting the big tech boys.

In addition, don’t be surprised at the demise or acquisition of some global names, including Coupa Software, Darktrace, Intchains Group, KnowBe4 and Nutanix; IPOs from many companies currently controlled by private equity firms as well as possible ones by Direct Communications Solutions, Ingram Micro, Snapdeal, Ultimax Digital and Wiz; the continued pillage of the Israeli technology sector; several of the private equity companies growing their ICT portfolio; and further developments regarding the simmering China/USA technology ‘war’ and China’s rule tightening regarding acquisitions and IPOs.

In Africa, expect to see further opening up of the telecoms market in Ethiopia; and more offices being opened on the continent by the big boys as well as South African-based companies.

Locally, look out for the possible delisting of Etion and Jasco, further investment activity by Naspers/Prosus as well as the proposed government ICT entities reorganisation.


IT spending in EMEA is forecast to total $1.3 trillion in 2023, an increase of 3.7% from 2022. The ICT industry continues to be very much alive and kicking and, as usual, there are bound to be many shocks over the coming year, as nothing is sacred in this industry. So don’t be surprised at what may happen or take anything for granted.


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