5GN buys Sydney CBD data centre extending infrastructure capacity to 600+ racks

Australian telco services provider 5GN has entered into an agreement to snap up Australian Pacific Data Centres (APDC) for A$3.5 million cash at a 7x EBITDA multiple, including annualised contracted revenue of A$1.7 million per annum.
5GN said the acquisition also unlocks several cost synergies with expected benefits to be approximately A$500,000 of annualised savings starting H2 FY20.
“The Pyrmont Data Centre has capacity of over 150 racks with current utilisation at 30%,” 5GN said, noting that future expansion is also available. “5GN’s combined capacity now exceeds 600 racks across its owned and operated data centres in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney.”
The acquisition will allow it to execute its wholesale channel strategy for data centre services and introduce its fibre network and cloud services to other carriers, hardware vendors and managed service providers.
With several DC locations now connected to a national high-speed network, 5GN aims to fast track the launch of its ‘5GN Cloud Port’ product and a set of new indirect channel services.
“The importance of the easy to access APDC location cannot be underestimated,  particularly for organisations situated in the Sydney CBD.” 5G said. “This enables 5GN to provide both wholesale and direct customers with fast and convenient access to the ISO accredited, Tier 3 designed facility to access mission critical digital infrastructure within
minutes.”
The APDC facility – which has been purpose built to Tier 3 standards with power, cooling, redundancy and carrier grade diverse  network access – been operating for 15 years and has N+1 redundancy and automated management systems.

Cisco to underpin AI powered contact center strategy with CloudCherry acquisition

Cisco is set to snap up CloudCherry, a Salt Lake City based Customer Experience Management (CEM) specialist that provides rich APIs, predictive analytics, and customer journey mapping with integrated sentiment analysis.

Cisco said the purchase of the firm, with the majority of its employees based in Bangalore, Indi, aligned with its strategy around the cognitive and collaborative contact center. This approach will see Cisco focusing on cloud analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to boost agent productivity and confidence, enabling them to provide more personalized customer experiences.

Upon completion of the transaction, the CloudCherry team will join Cisco’s Contact Center Solutions business, led by vice president and general manager Vasili Triant.

1551998238-bpfull.jpg“With CloudCherry, we’re augmenting our contact center portfolio with advanced analytics, rich customer journey mapping and sophisticated survey capabilities that all our customers can use,” said Triant.

“And with more than 17 integrated feedback channels available, CloudCherry can help us better understand and enrich the agent and employee experience as well! CloudCherry’s predictive analytics and journey-oriented solution helps companies understand the correlations between various factors that influence customer experience, ” he said.

“Predictive analytics help agents make journey modifications in real-time, such as up and cross-selling and enabling discounting or couponing to meet customer needs during the interaction, to improve first contact resolution and customer happiness,” Triant added.

In addition, Cisco said CloudCherry’s open API platform complemented its own open and cloud architecture approach, by simplifying how customer data is ingested from systems of records, transactional data, and other data sources.

“This enables our customers to fully leverage their business technology investments, while helping contact center agents close the feedback loop and improve customer loyalty and satisfaction,” said Triant.

The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of Cisco’s fiscal year 2020, subject to customary closing conditions and required approvals.

Cisco to buy optical component manufacturer Acacia Communications for US$2.6 billion

Cisco and Acacia Communications have entered into a definitive agreement under which Cisco has agreed to acquire Acacia.

An existing Cisco supplier, Acacia designs and manufactures high-speed, optical interconnect technologies that allow webscale companies, service providers, and data center operators to meet the fast-growing consumer demands for data.

Under the terms of the agreement, Cisco has agreed to acquire Acacia for US$70.00 per share in cash, or for approximately US$2.6 billion on a fully diluted basis, net of cash and marketable securities. As Cisco and Acacia come together, Cisco plans to support Acacia’s existing customers and new customers that want industry-leading coherent optics, digital signal processing / photonic integrated circuit modules, and transceivers for use in networking products and data centers.

“By innovating across software, silicon and optics, Cisco is reinventing every domain of the network with our intent-based architectures,” said David Goeckeler, executive vice president and general manager of Cisco’s networking and security business. “With the explosion of bandwidth in the multi-cloud era, optical interconnect technologies are becoming increasingly strategic. The acquisition of Acacia will allow us to build on the strength of our switching, routing and optical networking portfolio to address our customers’ most demanding requirements.”

Cisco offers a full portfolio of optical systems to support webscale, service provider, enterprise, and public sector customer segments. These optical systems address performance, power, and cost requirements. Acacia’s technology will enrich Cisco’s optical systems portfolio. It will also allow the growing number of customers transitioning from chassis-based systems to pluggable technology to simplify operations and reduce network complexities.

“Coherent technology has been a game-changer for optical networking and continues to evolve with the deployment of pluggable coherent optics,” said Raj Shanmugaraj, president and chief executive officer, Acacia. “Upon close, Cisco and Acacia will continue to serve and support existing Acacia customers. By integrating Acacia technology into Cisco’s networking portfolio, we believe we can accelerate the trend toward coherent technology and pluggable solutions while accommodating a larger footprint of customers worldwide.”

The acquisition is expected to close during the second half of Cisco’s FY2020, subject to customary closing conditions and required regulatory approvals. Upon completion of this transaction, Acacia employees will join Cisco’s Optical Systems and Optics business within the networking and security business under David Goeckeler.

GTT steps up European push,commits to buy KPN International

GTT Communications has inked a definitive purchase agreement to acquire KPN International, a division of Dutch telco KPN,  for approximately €50 million in cash, on a cash and debt-free basis.

GTT said the purchase of KPN International  – which operates a global IP network serving enterprise and carrier customers – will enable it to

  • Augment scale and network reach, adding depth to GTT’s Tier 1 global IP network in Europe across 21 countries, including long-haul fiber routes and metro rings in Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam and Paris
  • Add more than 400 strategic enterprise and carrier clients. GTT will be the preferred international network supplier for an additional 400 clients retained by KPN
  • Contribute a global sales, operations, service delivery and client service organization, with a proven track record of delivering outstanding client experience
  • Complement GTT’s comprehensive portfolio of cloud networking services with similar best-in-class transport and infrastructure, internet, and wide area networking services

“The world-class resources contributed from this acquisition, including a highly experienced team, international network assets and a deep roster of multinational clients, will help us deliver on our purpose of connecting people across organizations around the world and to every application in the cloud,:” said GTT president and CEO Rick Calder.

The acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter 2019 subject to the required regulatory approvals.

Vocus chief spruiks turnaround effort as AGL withdraws A$3b deal

Vocus Group CEO Kevin Russell has reminded shareholders that the company is in the midst of a three-year turnaround effort after the latest in a series of potential buyers walked away from the takeover table.

AGL Energy announced on 17 June it had decided to cease due diligence on Vocus Group and withdraw the non-binding proposal to acquire the telco it had announced just days before.

According to AGL managing director and CEO Brett Redman, the energy company was “no longer confident that an acquisition of Vocus at the proposed terms would represent sufficient certainty of creating value for AGL shareholders.”

At the same time, Redman maintained that AGL believes there will be material opportunities for the company as energy and data value streams continue to converge and the traditional energy sector accelerates its transformation.

“The approach to Vocus reflected our view that the Vocus asset base has attributes that could support the execution of this strategy and benefit our customers,” Redman said.

AGL pitched its multibillion-dollar proposal to shareholders on 11 June, saying at the time that it had been granted exclusive access to conduct due diligence on the telco for a period of four weeks.

The takeover proposal, worth just over A$3 billion, came almost exactly a week after another potential suitor, Scandanavian private equity group EQT Infrastructure, pulled out of its own non-binding takeover play for Vocus, scrapping a deal that would have been worth nearly A$3.27 billion.

At the time, Russell reiterated earlier comments that Vocus was in the early stages of a business turnaround and maintained that the company had “great confidence” that its strategy would deliver significant value in the medium to long-term.

Now, following the withdrawal of AGL from the negotiating table, Russell has once again pointed to the company’s turnaround activities.

“As we have repeatedly said, this is a three-year turnaround,” he said, noting that with the AGL deal off the table, the Vocus management team will now be able to focus all of its attention on “realising the opportunity that we have ahead of us.”

AGL makes $3b takeover play for Vocus

Vocus Group has received a non-binding, indicative proposal from AGL Energy, valued at A$3 billion, to acquire all of the shares in the telco at a price of A$4.85 per share in cash  to be implemented by way of a scheme of arrangement.
The Indicative Proposal follows Vocus’ announcement on 4 June 2019 that it had ceased discussions with EQT Infrastructure and AGL’s announcement on 31 May 2019 that AGL had previously been unable to agree due diligence terms with Vocus.
“After last week’s announcement that discussions with EQT Infrastructure had ceased, AGL returned with a non-binding and indicative proposal to acquire Vocus for $4.85 per share,” said Vocus MD and CEO Kevin Russell. “There is a clear market opportunity for Vocus, which is generating significant interest in our business and our assets. We are focused on executing our turnaround strategy and delivering the opportunity in front of us. However, we have been clear that the Board will always act in the best interests of our shareholders to engage with credible parties that bring forward proposals that are worthy of further consideration.”
The Indicative Proposal is subject to a number of conditions, including completion of a four week period of exclusive due diligence to AGL’s satisfaction; unanimous recommendation from the Vocus Board; and entry into a mutually acceptable scheme implementation agreement. Any scheme implementation agreement would also be subject to a number of further conditions, including shareholder, court and regulatory approvals.
“As we progress through the AGL due diligence process, we will ensure that it is conducted efficiently and causes the minimum level of disruption to our business,” added Russell.

ACCC fixes software glitch behind early TPG-VHA merger rejection announcement

Australia’s competition watchdog has patched its website content management system (CMS) and apologised, after publishing its decision on TPG’s proposed merger with Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) before it was meant to be made public.

In a somewhat unprecedented move, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) released a statement on 16 May explaining how it accidentally published its rejection of the proposed TPG-VHA Australia merger a day before it was expected to reveal its decision.

“We apologise unreservedly for this unfortunate and serious incident,” ACCC chief operating officer Rayne de Gruchy said.

“We have thoroughly reviewed all of the processes and information technology systems that led to this error, and we want to assure our stakeholders this incident will not be repeated,” she said.

The publication of the decision to reject the merger sent the share price of both TPG and VHA’s 50 percent stakeholder Hutchison Telecommunications tumbling.

The ACCC said it had conducted a full investigation into the incident and claims that a fault in its website CMS, which has now been rectified thanks to a software patch, was to blame.

According to the regulator, when the information relating to the merger was being put into the back end of the mergers register, a third-party user was trying to access the existing webpage at the same moment as it was being updated.

“Instead of the new information being treated as draft content requiring internal approval, the flaw meant the content was live for eight minutes,” the ACCC said in its statement.

The information went live just before 3PM, giving the ACCC the opportunity to quickly issue a statement confirming the merger decision to both the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) before the end of the trading day.

The ACCC’s rejection of the merger, which could effectively put an end to TPG’s ongoing efforts to become a major player in the country’s mobile telco market, saw VHA and TPG move to launch legal action against the regulator over the decision.

VHA CEO Iñaki Berroeta said on 9 May that the company remains firmly committed to the merger.

“VHA respects the ACCC process, but we believe the merger with TPG will bring very real benefits to consumers.  We have therefore decided that VHA should, together with TPG, pursue approval of the merger through the Federal Court,” said Berroeta.

The merger agreement between VHA and TPG has been extended to 31 August 2020 to allow the legal proceedings to run their course before the proposed deal lapses.