Biggest SA tech deals and mergers

There were a lot of big deals, partnerships and mergers and acquisitions in the South African tech space in 2014.

BusinessTech recounts some of biggest pairings that were officially announced or completed during the course of 2014.

Vodacom confirms Neotel bid – Pending

After months of speculation and all-but-absolute-certainty, Vodacom officially confirmed its acquisition of fixed-line operator Neotel in May 2014.

The deal will see Vodacom acquire 100% of the issued share capital in, and shareholder loans against Neotel for a total cash consideration of R7 billion.

The deal is still currently pending regulatory approval, with many competing operators not keen on it going ahead. However Vodacom expects the deal to conclude early 2015.

Neotel Vodacom
Vodacom and Neotel

Takealot swallows up Kalahari – Pending

In a very surprising move, online retailers Takealot.com and Naspers-owned Kalahari.com announced in October that they would be merging their operations.

In a joint statement, the two stores said that the move was due to a lack of scale in the South African online market, and that the unified entity would continue to operate under the Takealot.com brand.

The proposed merger is still subject to Competition Commission approval and will only become effective once the Commission has ruled.

Takealot Kalahari
Takealot and Kalahari

Telkom partners with MTN – Pending

MTN signed an agreement with Telkom in March 2014, which would see it take over financial and operational responsibility for the rollout and operation of Telkom’s radio access network (RAN).

In April, Telkom said it hoped to conclude the deal within three-to-four months (concluded by August), but the groups have advised that the discussions are still ongoing.

MTN Telkom
MTN and Telkom

MTN signs on Afrihost – Approved

MTN acquired a controlling stake in Internet service provider Afrihost in June 2014.

MTN is bought up 50% +1 of Afrihost’s shares, and left the current Afrihost shareholders with the remaining 50%. The ISP told clients that the deal would not influence the way it operates, nor its brand.

The deal with was approved by both the Competition Commission and the Commission Tribunal in November.

MTN Afrihost
MTN-Afrihost tie-up

Telkom buys up BCX – Pending

Telkom announced in May 2014 that it had entered into an agreement to acquire listed ICT group Business Connexion in a R2.7 billion cash offer funded from its own cash resources.

The deal was interrupted and suspended after the passing of late BCX CEO, Leetile Benjamin Mophatlane in June, but gained shareholder approval in August.

According to the firms, the deal is on track, with only regulatory approvals still needed to conclude the acquisition.

Telkom BCX
Telkom BCX acquisition

Dimension Data takes a bite of MWeb – Approved

Internet Solutions, a division of Dimension Data, announced in September that it signed a transaction agreement to purchase three business divisions within MWEB Connect.

The sale included MWEB ISP core network assets, MWEB Business and Optinet.

In December the Competition Commission gave its approval and recommendation to the Competition Tribunal to greenlight the merger.

Mweb Didata
Mweb-Didata merger

Other notable deals

  • Telkom and MultiChoice entered into an exclusive six-month promotion which sees Telkom internet broadband being bundled with the new IP-connected DSTV Explora decoder.
  • Cell C partnered with WhatsApp to zero-rate the messaging app’s data on its network.
  • Vodacom entered into a year-long partnership agreement with music streaming service Deezer, offering services for R59.99 a month.
  • MTN entered into a partnership with music streaming service, Simfy Africa, offering access to 23 million tracks for R49 a month.
  • Vox is currently in advanced talks to sell, with Reunert and Altron said to be forerunners for the acquisition.

More on tech tie-ups

Are these the companies looking to buy Vox?

MWEB-DiData merger deal gets approval

MTN raises concern over Vodacom-Neotel deal

Kalahari.com and Takealot.com in merger deal

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Biggest SA tech deals and mergers