IT Industry News – May 2016

May 2016 saw some M&A activity with the largest deal seeing HPE merge its services arm with CSC in a $8.5 billion deal to create arguably the largest IT services company. In another large deal, Vista Equity Partners is paying $1.79 billion for customer service and marketing cloud provider Marketo. There were some other big names out shopping in May too. Oracle paid $532 million for software as a service for the utilities vertical, company Opower; Google picked up interactive training platform Synergyse; Infor bought consulting services company Merit Globe AS; and ARM paid $350 million for imaging and embedded systems company Apical. Microsoft ended an unhappy period by divesting its feature phone business to FIH mobile for $350 million, and GoDaddy picked up cloud-based phone company FreedomVoice for $43 million. New Signature picked up another Microsoft solution provider, Dot Net Solutions; and Edmonton based F12.Net bought Calgary based professional services company XCEL.Other companies in the news included Apple who invested $1 billion into the Chinese “Uber” called Didi Chuxing; and Microsoft announced another 1,850 job cuts related to its mobile phone business.One security report out of the UK suggests that two thirds of large businesses have suffered cyberattacks; another IDC report suggests the big data and analytics market will expand by 50% over the next 4 years; and a Gallup report tells us that millennials are changing jobs faster than any other cohort.

Economic data continues to show a Canadian economy that is limping along and a US economy that continues to grow (another 165,000 new jobs last month). Other countries with positive news included the UK, Ireland, Germany and, New Zealand. China also reported that demand exceeds supply for its labour force. The Caribbean and Latin America are, however, predicting increased unemployment.

IT Industry News

In this Issue:> General Interest
> Company News
> Merger & Acquisition Activity
> Primary Sources


Two thirds of the largest businesses in the UK have suffered a cyberattack or data breach within the past twelve months — and a quarter of those affected experience a breach at least once per month. Just some facts from the UK government’s Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2016.

The big data and analytics market is expected to be worth more than $187 billion in 2019, up from $122 billion in 2015, according to IDC.

According to a Harvard Business Review article, 21% of millennials left their job last year to do something else. This is three times higher than any other generation.  Millennials were also the generation most likely to move jobs, with 60% open to different job opportunities. Data comes from a Gallup report “How Millennials Want to Work and Live.”

The economy – Canada

In an indication of skill shortages, during the past 12 months almost half of IT executives encountered difficulty filling IT related positions within their organizations according to a recent report from the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA).

Employment in Canada remained virtually unchanged in April with a loss of only 2,100 jobs, according to seasonally adjusted numbers from Statistics Canada.

Canada’s economy is expected to grow by just 1.6% in 2016 as the decline in commodity prices, subpar global economic growth and overstretched Canadian consumers will limit Canada’s real GDP growth, according to The Conference Board of Canada’s Canadian Outlook-Spring 2016. While modest, this is an improvement over last year’s growth of 1.2%.

The Canadian staffing index fell in April, continuing a trend of moderate year-over-year declines. The index, which measures staffing activity in Canada, fell to a reading of 99 in April, down 2% from April 2015. The index value of 100 corresponds to the size of the industry in July 2008, when the index began.

The economy – US

US real gross domestic product increased at an annual rate of 0.8% in the first quarter, according to new estimate from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis that revises upward a previous estimate of 0.5%. In the new estimate, the decrease in private inventory investment was smaller than previously estimated.

The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index for the US fell in May following a moderate decrease in April. The index edged down to a reading of 92.6 (1985=100), down from a reading of 94.7 in April.

Gross domestic product will expand 1.5% in 2016, according to the May 2016 issue of “The Forecast of the Nation,” from the Economic Forecasting Center at Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business. It will then expand to 2.5% in 2017 and 2.4% in 2018, according to the forecast.

The American Staffing Association’s index measuring employment in the US staffing industry remained relatively unchanged at a reading of 95.94 for the week of May 9 to May 15. Temporary and contract staffing employment edged up 0.01% from the prior week. However, the index was 1.12% lower than the same week last year.

The Institute for Supply Management’s nonmanufacturing composite index rose to a reading of 55.7 from March’s reading of 54.5. Readings above 50 indicates expansion in the sector. The employment portion of the index grew in April for the second consecutive month. The index rose 2.7 percentage points to 53.0% from the March reading of 50.3%. February’s reading of 47.7% was the first contraction after 23 consecutive months of growth and the first time the employment index had contracted since February 2014.

US private-sector employment rose by 156,000 jobs in April from March, the fewest jobs added in a month since April 2013, according to the ADP national employment report.

The number of employees who are looking for a new job has reached its highest level since autumn 2013 while job satisfaction is also at its lowest level in two years, according to a survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). The report found that almost a quarter of employees are currently looking for a new job, up from 20% in autumn 2015. This is the highest level since autumn 2013, when 24% of respondents said they were job-seeking. The report also shows that net job satisfaction has also decreased substantially since last autumn, from a net score of +48 to +40.

The Conference Board’s US employment trends index rose in April to a reading of 128.28 from March’s downwardly revised reading of 126.42. The April reading is up 1.4% from the same month a year ago.

Economic growth in the US will continue throughout the remainder of 2016 but at a slower rate than forecast at the start of the year, according to the Institute of Supply Management’s semi-annual economic forecast. Manufacturing revenue is now expected to increase 2.8% in 2016, down from a 2.7% increase forecast in December 2015. US nonmanufacturing net revenue is expected to increase 2.4% in 2016, less than the 2.7% increase forecast in December 2015. Manufacturing employment will remain at the current level on average through the end of 2016, according to the report.

The economy – Outside North America

The number of employed people in Germany in the first quarter of 2016 rose to 43.1 million, an increase of 533,000 or 1.3%, compared to the same period last year according to the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis).

According to the latest Hays Salary and Recruiting Trends Guide in Ireland, 81% of employees are looking to change jobs within the next two years. The report also shows that 47% of all employees are satisfied with their salaries, however 62% expect to receive a pay rise in the next 12 months. Irish businesses are increasingly optimistic about the future with 79% of organisations expecting increased business activity in 2016 and 86% plan to recruit in the coming 12 months.

According to the International Labour Organization and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), unemployment is set to rise in the Latin America and Caribbean labour markets. Both UN organisations state that the evolution of labour markets in Latin America and the Caribbean during 2016 will generally be negative, due to forecasts for a more deteriorated macroeconomic context and growth levels than last year and to the weakening of some employment indicators. These factors, along with the low dynamism in job creation, will likely lead to an increase in urban unemployment of more than half a percentage point (0.5%) in 2016 versus 2015.

The labour market in New Zealand remains strong according to the latest Quarterly Labour market Scorecard report by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). The report shows that employment grew much more strongly than expected. However, not enough to absorb all of the increase in the labour force resulting from a higher participation rate and a record increase in working age population. This meant that unemployment also rose moderately. Employment rose by 28,000 (up 1.2%) over the March quarter. Full-time employment increased by 1.0% over the quarter and part-time employment by 1.2%. The unemployment rate increased by 0.3% to 5.7% this quarter.

The CIER Index Report reviews and identifies trends in China’s employment market showing that demand in China’s labor market continued to exceeded supply during the first quarter of 2016. The Quarterly CIER index scores are expected to continue to decrease in the second quarter of 2016.

The registered unemployment rate in Switzerland increased to a seasonally adjusted 3.5% in April, up from 3.4% in March, according to the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

The UK economy is expected to continue to grow — but at a slower rate — through 2016 and 2017, and there are signs that global economic risks, including uncertainty ahead of the EU referendum, are starting to weigh on investment plans, according to the latest CBI (Confederation of British Industries) economic forecast. The report predicts that the UK will see 2.0% GDP growth in both 2016 and 2017, both of which are downgrades from its last forecast in February (2016 – 2.3%, 2017 – 2.1%).

The latest labour market figures published by the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the employment rate in the UK (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 who were in work) for the period from January to March 2016 was 74.2%, the highest since comparable records began in 1971. The employment rate has been generally increasing since early 2012. There were 31.58 million people in work, 44,000 more than for October to December 2015 and 409,000 more than for a year earlier. The unemployment rate was 5.1%, unchanged compared with October to December 2015 but lower than for a year earlier (5.6%).


Microsoft is cutting another 1,850 jobs connected to its mobile-phone business, on the heels of the 4,500 job cuts connected with its sell-off of its feature-phone business. Of the current 1,850 cuts, 1,350 of those affected are in Finland.

Apple Invests $1 Billion in Didi Chuxing
Apple invested $1 billion in China-based ride-sharing firm Didi Chuxing, formerly Didi Kuaidi. The firm ranks as the second-largest company in a workforce segment that Staffing Industry Analysts defines as the human cloud. The largest is Uber. “Didi exemplifies the innovation taking place in the iOS developer community in China,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement. “We are extremely impressed by the business they’ve built and their excellent leadership team, and we look forward to supporting them as they grow.” Apple’s investment represents the largest single investment the company has received. Didi Chuxing completes more than 11 million rides per day on its platform, according to the company. It also a rival to Uber in China. Reuters reported earlier this year that Uber’s China business received almost $2 billion in funding from Chinese investors, and in a separate report indicated Uber was losing $1 billion a year in China.  Last September, Didi Chuxing invested $100 million in US-based ride-sharing firm Lyft.


HP Selling its Services Arm to CSC for $8.5 Billion
Approximately eight months after HP separated into two companies (HP Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise) the HPE side is splitting again. HPE announced it plans to divorce itself from its service arm and essentially sell it to Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) of Tysons, Va., for approximately $8.5 billion. HPE’s services division is reportedly a $20 billion enterprise and was at one time EDS. HP acquired EDS back in 2008. As part of this deal HPE shareholders will get control of about half the business. The new company might have a new name; both HP and CSC said the name of the new company will be announced at a later date. The CSC deal is a merger, according to HPE: The multi-national CSC is a professional IT services firm with revenues of more than $12 billion annually. CSC is currently the only hardware independent IT services provider based in North America. That distinction might come to an end if this arrangement gets approval as CSC has high profile customers including the U.S. Department of Defense, the CIA and NASA. CSC CEO Mike Lawrie will continue to run CSC and will also be the chairman. HPE CEO Meg Whitman will have a seat on the board of the newly combined company, according to a published report. CSC’s current CFO, Paul Saleh, will continue in that role after the transaction closes. Mike Nefkens, the current EVP and GM of HPE Enterprise Services, will report to Lawrie and will become a key part of the new company’s executive team. The new company is expected to have annual revenues of $26 billion and more than 5,000 clients in 70 countries. Both companies are saying this deal is complimentary and has the potential to be the world’s largest pure-play IT services companies. CSC also went through its own separation six months ago. CSC separated into two publicly traded companies: CSC, to serve commercial and government clients globally, and CSRA, which serves public sector clients in the U.S.

Vista Equity Partners Paying $1.79 Billion for Marketo
Customer experience and marketing cloud provider Marketo is being acquired by the private equity firm Vista Equity Partners in a deal valued at about $1.79 billion. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2016. The deal will help further Marketo’s go-to-market strategy around its enterprise platform for customer engagement. Unlike many of its biggest rivals, Marketo has primarily focused on small and mid-market accounts for most of its 10-year existence. But more recently Marketo has set its sights upmarket, with plans to roll out a next-generation platform that taps into multiple parts of an enterprise. Code-named Orion, the platform aims to combine analytics and interaction data and integrate it across a business. As for Vista, the technology-focused private equity firm has acquired a bevy of companies, most recently the cloud-based event management company Cvent, which it bought last month for $1.65 billion. “Marketo is the clear leader in the marketing automation space and has consistently delivered innovative mission critical products to its more than 4,600 customers,” said Brian Sheth, co-founder and president of Vista. “Given our proven track record and focus on investing in high-growth SaaS platforms, we are thrilled to partner with Phil and the broader Marketo team to help the company accelerate innovation, growth, and excellence.”

Oracle Paying $532 Million for Opower
Oracle plans to acquire software-as-a-service company Opower for approximately $532 million. Opower is a publicly held company that primarily sells customer engagement and energy efficiency cloud services to utilities. Its platform uses big data analytics to comb through meter reads to help companies cut costs, engage with customers and meet regulatory requirements. Opower’s current clientele includes PG&E, Exelon, Pepco and National Grid. Opower will become part of the Oracle Utilities division. Arlington, Virginia-based Opower recently laid off 7.5% of its global workforce in what the company’s communications VP Matt Maurer said was “part of an effort to cut back on our overall spend in sales and marketing and R&D.” The company reported a loss of $13.6 million in its fourth quarter.

Google Has Acquired Synergyse
Google has acquired Synergyse, an interactive training platform for Google Apps for Work, built on Google Cloud Platform. Google said the plan is to use Synergyse to scale the training services and tutorials Google Apps offers to its customers and its customers’ users. Synergyse built virtual coach inside of the Google Apps interface, built on Google Cloud Platform. With voice and text interactive modules that are searchable by topic within our apps, Synergyse will help your users get up to speed quickly — including when new features are rolled out. The trainings are always up to date, thanks to the power of the cloud. Organizations that use Synergyse see on average 35 percent higher adoption across Apps products, meaning those organizations are more likely to be productive, collaborative and embrace digital transformation. Toronto-based Synergyse was founded in 2013 by former Googlers Varun Malhotra and Majid Manzarpour. That same year, the startup launched its Synergyse Training service, which essentially puts a virtual guide into Google Apps for Work to help users navigate things like Gmail, Drive and Docs.

Infor Buys Merit Globe AS
Enterprise software vendor Infor has acquired Merit Globe AS. Based in Norway, Merit provides consulting services for Infor’s enterprise resource management system across Europe. Infor plans to merge Merit with its Infor Services group, which was formed earlier this year as a combined outfit for all of Infor’s consulting, support and cloud operations. The deal includes the acqui-hire of Merit’s 240 consultants as well as Merit’s portfolio of customer service technology. “As our projects get larger, move beyond edge applications, and address mission critical industry processes, Infor is investing in deployment and customer service,” said Charles Phillips, CEO of Infor. Merit CEO Erik Outzen will continue to lead the Merit team, reporting to Darren Saumur, global head of Infor Services.

Microsoft Divests Phone Business to FIH Mobile for $350 Million
Microsoft is selling its feature phone business to FIH Mobile, a subsidiary of Hon Hai/Foxconn Technology Group, and Finnish company HMD Global for $350 million. As part of the deal, FIH Mobile will also acquire Microsoft Mobile Vietnam, the company’s manufacturing facility in Hanoi, Vietnam. As part of the deal, Microsoft will transfer “substantially all” of its feature phone assets, including brands, software and services, care network and other assets, customer contracts, and critical supply agreements. When the deal is completed, around 4,500 employees will transfer to “or have the opportunity to join” FIH Mobile or HMD Global, subject to compliance with local law. Microsoft said it will continue to develop Windows 10 Mobile and support Lumia phones such as the Lumia 650, Lumia 950, and Lumia 950 XL, and phones from hardware makers including Acer, Alcatel, HP, Trinity, and VAIO. HMD Global will use the rights to use the Nokia brand for feature phones as part of its plans to launch a new range of Nokia-branded devices, which will also include Nokia-branded smartphones and tablets using the Android operating system, a remarkable turnaround considering that Nokia only sold its smartphone business to Microsoft, which wanted to boost Windows Phone, in 2014. Microsoft made a huge bet on phones when it bought Nokia’s smartphones business for $5.4 billion just over two years ago. But while the deal was announced as a “win-win for employees, shareholders, and consumers” in reality it never worked out that way: last year Microsoft took a $7.6 billion write-down on the acquisition (plus a $750 million to $850 million restructuring charge), and made thousands of redundancies.

ARM Pays $350 Million for Apical
ARM has acquired imaging and embedded systems company Apical to push forward Internet of Things (IoT) devices and technology. Founded in 2002, Apical is based in Loughborough, UK, and employs roughly 100 people in the research and development of imaging technology, camera and display systems. The company’s products are used in over 1.5 billion smartphones and approximately 300 million other consumer/industrial devices including IP cameras, digital stills cameras and tablets. The deal could be an important addition for ARM, which traditionally supplies silicon chips to applications and products including smartphones, tablets, wearables and video processors. However, as a number of technology giants begin to suffer from slowing mobile device sales, new revenue streams must be opened up — and the arrival of the connected home, robotics and smart vehicles may prove lucrative. A company which specialises in research, IoT technology, sensors and has a large computer vision intellectual property (IP) portfolio is likely to be a valuable asset for ARM’s future business goals.

Godaddy Pays $42 Million for Freedomvoice
Small business domain host GoDaddy announced plans to acquire Encinitas, California-based FreedomVoice for $42 million in cash, plus up to $5 million in potential future milestones payments. GoDaddy will use the deal to offer cloud-based telephony services to SMBs. FreedomVoice’s products include a custom cloud number that automatically routes business-related calls to a user’s mobile phone, and a cloud-based phone system that delivers voice over IP for small offices. “GoDaddy has 14 million customers and many of them have struggled to find affordable and simple telephony solutions,” said Steven Aldrich, GoDaddy’s chief product officer. GoDaddy has been working to expand its communications services for small businesses and recently created a designated telephony business unit to oversee its communications strategy. The new unit will be managed by Intuit veteran Barry Saik. FreedomVoice CEO Eric Thomas is slated for the role of Telephony Revenue and Integration Officer at GoDaddy. For now, FreedomVoice will continue to sell its products online and through partners. GoDaddy said it plans to integrate cloud-based voice products from FreedomVoice into GoDaddy “in the near future.”

F12.Net Purchases XCEL Professional Services
Edmonton-based F12.Net Inc. has acquired XCEL Professional Services Inc., a Calgary-based managed services provider (MSP). XCEL will help F12 expand its offering in the tough Calgary marketplace that has been tested with the slowdown in the Oil & Gas sector. F12 CEO Alex Webb described the acquisition as a fit with the company’s strategy of expanding by finding disciplined managed services companies who have found the secret of efficient IT support and high customer satisfaction. The XCEL acquisition complements F12’s hardware along with its flagship Service Plus solution, an all-inclusive hardware and software licensing program. One of the keys to this deal is that XCEL now gets access to the F12 data centre and all the solutions around it.

New Signature Buying Dot Net Solutions
New Signature, a Microsoft-focused solution provider, has announced it acquired Dot Net Solutions out of the UK. The former — which provides platform and directory services, systems management and cloud computing — was Microsoft’s 2014 and 2015 US Partner of the Year, while the company it’s acquiring had the same recognition in 2014 in the UK. In North America, New Signature says that the acquisition will bring enhancements to application migration to Azure, application development and business transformation. The deal is also meant to help larger customers with multinational operations. The company’s Canadian subsidiary has offices in downtown Toronto. In its statement, New Signature hinted at further acquisitions, although more oriented in Europe. For now, the companies will keep separate business structures but partner in best practices.