Tag: deal

Privacy group launches legal challenge against US data deal

Data centreAn Irish privacy group has issued a legal challenge against an EU deal which allows Euro data to end up in US hands.

The EU-US Privacy Shield commercial data transfer pact has been running for  two months but it was hammered out after the European Union’s highest court struck down the previous such framework over concerns about intrusive US surveillance.

The framework enables businesses moving personal data across the Atlantic a way of avoiding falling foul of tough EU data transferral rules.

Digital Rights Ireland has challenged the adoption of the “Privacy Shield” in front of the second-highest EU court, arguing it lacks adequate privacy protections.

It will be a year or more before the court rules on the case and it could still be declared inadmissible if the court finds the Privacy Shield is not of direct concern to Digital Rights Ireland.

More than 500 companies have signed up to the Privacy Shield so far, including usual suspects Google, Facebook and Microsoft.

Curtains for Chinese Night at the Opera

opera460A $1.24 billion takeover of Norwegian online browser and advertising company Opera  by a Chinese consortium of internet firms has partly failed.

The consortium, which includes search and security business Qihoo 360 and Beijing Kunlun Tech , a distributor of online and mobile games, might try to take over parts of Opera’s consumer business for $600 million, Opera said in a statement.

Opera did not say why the deal failed other than its conditions to close the public offer were not met.

However the deal had needed the approval of Chinese and US authorities, but last week Opera warned that regulatory approval had yet to be received. it is not clear if it was the Chinese or US approval which was lacking.

The offer’s final deadline and the deadline for approval by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States were both Friday.

The Chinese consortium now plans to acquire Opera’s browser business, both for mobile phones and desktop computers, the performance and privacy apps section of the company as well as its technology licensing business and its stake in Chinese joint venture nHorizon, Opera said.

However it will not get its paws on Opera’s advertising and marketing business, its TV operations, nor the apps that are game-related.

“Closing of the transaction is expected to take place during the second half of the third quarter of 2016,” it said.

The revised deal has been approved by Opera’s board of directors, Opera said.

Foxconn and Sharp deal already in trouble

sharp2Hours after it was announced, Foxconn’s plans to buy Sharp are already in trouble.

Sharp CEO Kozo Takahashi and Foxconn Chief Executive Terry Gou plan to meet today after the world’s largest contract maker of electronic goods put its takeover of the loss-making Japanese firm on hold.

Apparently the problem was previously undisclosed liabilities which Foxconn discovered when the deal went through. Foxconn said it would not sign the deal until it had clarified some “new material information” from Sharp. It did not elaborate.

One of the sources said Foxconn’s own due diligence had uncovered liabilities

A spokesman for Foxconn declined to comment on the issue. Sharp also declined to comment.

But the entire deal is in trouble according to analysts.

Shares in Sharp slid 15 percent this morning, adding to losses a day earlier as planned share dilution under the deal looked larger than expected. The stock has fallen 27 percent over the past two days.

The last minute hitch casts doubt on a deal that would have marked the conclusion to five years of courting by Gou and the opening up of Japan’s insular tech sector to foreign investment.


VMware barely floats as Dell sharks circle

shark-week-2015-promoAs the tinbox shifter Dell is planning to buy EMC and VMware, the later has shown off some pretty dismal results.

VMware forecast current quarter revenue largely below Wall Street’s estimates, sending its shares down five percent in extended trading.

The company blamed poor sales in due to speculation about its future and weakness in China, Russia and Brazil. How the Dell deal could have influenced the whole quarter when it was only announced last week is anyone’s guess.

VMware forecast revenue of between $1.83 billion and $1.88 billion for the fourth quarter, its seasonally strongest. Analysts on average were expecting revenue of $1.88 billion.

Analysts were not mincing their words. Speaking from a pile of sack-cloth and ashes FBR Capital Markets analyst Daniel Ives predicted “dark days ahead for VMware” as this company is “heading down a troubled path” where death awaits it with pointy teeth –  we added the last bit.

VMware also said on Tuesday that it would form a new cloud services business with EMC that would operate under the Virtustream brand.

The new business will be jointly owned by VMware and EMC.

“This initiative is around creating a tighter integration for both companies as they go after the elusive cloud opportunity,” Ives said.

Virtustream’s results will be consolidated into VMware’s financials, starting in the first quarter of 2016.

EMC, which owns about 80 percent of VMware, bought Virtustream for $1.2 billion in July.

VMware’s revenue rose to $1.67 billion in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, from $1.52 billion a year earlier.

Apple ordered to reveal details of HTC pact

A US judge has told the ultra-secretive Apple to tell a court the numbers involved in its legal settlement with Taiwan’s HTC, including terms of a 10-year patent licensing agreement.

Samsung wanted to know how much HTC had paid for its licences. The thinking is that Apple might have charged HTC less than it had been demanding from Samsung for the same licence.

According to Bloomberg. the question of which patents are covered by the Apple-HTC settlement, and licensing details could be instrumental in stuffing up Apple’s attempts to ban Samsung products.

US courts are not happy about blocking the sale of products if a licence has been agreed in other cases. They rightly see it as bad because a licensee could be petty and not come up with a viable price with companies that it does not like.

The court ordered Apple to produce a full copy of the settlement agreement “without delay”, subject to an Attorneys-Eyes-Only designation.

Just so that Apple felt some legal pressure, Samsung also requested the California court to add the iPod Touch 5, the iPad 4 and the iPad mini to the list of devices that it claims to have infringed on some of its patents. 

HTC deal could paint Apple into a corner

Apple’s HTC deal could paint Cupertino into a corner and force it to accept less in its other patent trolling activities.

Last week Apple and HTC ended their worldwide legal battles with a 10-year patent licensing agreement. Since it was an Apple agreement it was conducted with extreme secrecy with the negotiators buried alive afterwards so they could not talk.

This means that it is not clear how much HTC paid for the patents and which ones were covered.

Samsung has scented blood over the deals. It realised that HTC cannot have been hit by the same ridiculous demands for payments that it was targeted with.

According to Reuters, it has gone to court and asked for details of the HTC and Apple agreement. If it can prove that HTC paid less than Apple is demanding from Samsung, then it could be required to pay much less.

If HTC was allowed to buy a licence for the “user experience” patent then it means that Apple lied when it stood up in court and said it would never licence that in a trillion years.

If that licence was not included then Apple would still need to be suing HTC.

But if it did license it then it could undermine the iPhone maker’s efforts to permanently ban the sale of products that allegedly copy its technology.

Reuters points out that judges are less likely to block the sale of products if the dispute can be resolved via a licensing agreement.

This is one of the reasons why Apple said that it would never licence the “user experience” patent so that it could pull its most successful rival off the shelves with a court order.

To get such a ban, Apple must show the copying of its technology caused irreparable harm and that money is not enough.

It was always going to have an uphill battle on that particular clause. Apple had licensed those holy patents to Microsoft which signed an anti-cloning agreement as part of the deal. 

Alibaba claws its company back from Yahoo

Jack Ma is writing a cheque for $7.1 billion to buy back 40 percent of his Alibaba Group from Yahoo.

Under the agreement, Yahoo will sell half of its stake in Alibaba for at least $6.3 billion in cash and up to $800 million in new Alibaba preferred stock. The move is the end of over two years worth of negotiations.

It will also help Yahoo, which has been facing a slump in advertising revenue, give its stockholders a Christmas bonus to get them off its back.

Yahoo, along with analysts, think that Alibaba is going to go for an IPO soon. It did not want to sell its shares because these would go up in value. However Alibaba was not going to arrange an IPO when Yahoo was sitting on most of the stock.

According to the joint statement, Alibaba would buy back half of Yahoo’s remaining stake, or 10 percent, at the IPO price or allow Yahoo to sell those shares in the offering before end-2015. Alibaba Group is valued at $30-35 billion.

Yahoo’s Alibaba cash and its 35 percent holding in Yahoo Japan are one of the few significant assets the outfit owns.

Investors want Yahoo to sell them and return the proceeds to shareholders because too much of Yahoo’s value is locked up in its Asian assets.

Yahoo said it would return “substantially all” of the after-tax cash proceeds from the deal to its stockholders – and would increase its share buyback authorisation by $5 billion. 

US Government wants Huawei to drop 3Leaf

Huawei could have hit a brick wall in its quest for world domination.

The Chinese company has been advised by a US panel that it should drop a US company that it bought in May or face the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)making a recommendation to the US president that the deal be blocked.

However, Huawei isn’t taking the threat lying down, according to the WSJ, it’s going to risk the deal going to the president, who doesn’t necessarily have to listen to what the committee is ordering him to do.

The case has been going on for a number of months  following claims that Huawei failed to declared the acquisition of 3Leaf Systems, with the firm claiming that it did not require clearance in this instance.

So far it is thought Huawei has hired fifteen 3Leaf employees, owns several former 3Leaf patents and has purchased the company’s servers out of bankruptcy

However, the $2 million deal has angered those in the US who don’t think Huawei should be allowed to get away with it.

William Plummer, vice president of government affairs for Huawei, told the WSJ it respected the process. He added that the company was willing to work with those concerned and ease security fears.

The Treasury Department, which usually oversees CFIUS issues didn’t want to comment, claiming that the filing was sensitive and couldn’t be shared.

Of course this isn’t the first time Huawei has found itself in hot water with the US government. Last year those above decided to block a deal with Sprint following security concerns about the company’s links with the Chinese military, a claim that’s been vigorously denied by Huawei.

However, ZTE is faring better than its competitor. It’s succeeded in a deal with Sprint and used this to its advantage, demanding that the US government keeps its nose out of its deals.  

FBI teams up with Dell for "critical mission"

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has teamed up with Dell for its IT supply and support, with the deal being the largest indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity agreement (ID/IQ) made in the FBI’s history.

The deal is between the FBI and Perot Systems Government Services, a subsidiary of Dell Services. This will be one of 46 companies providing services for the FBI, with Dell fulfilling a valuable IT supply and support requirement.

The value was not revealed, but the FBI’s IT Triple S project, authorised by the Department of Justice, has a cap of $30 billion over an eight year period. It’s therefore likely that Dell will bring in a few hundred million dollars over that duration.

Dell has been working with the FBI for over 15 years, providing IT infrastructure and services for “critical missions” within the intelligence and law enforcement community. These provisions include applications services, business consulting, business process services, IT consulting, and managed cloud and virtualisation services.

Verizon brings FCC to court over net neutrality rules

Verizon has brought the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to court over its net neutrality rules, accusing it of taking on more power than it is entitled to.

The challenge to the FCC was made in an appeal to the United States Court of Appels for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Verizon said it was “deeply concerned” about the new net neutrality rules, which it said gives the FCC the right to assert “broad authority” and “sweeping new regulation” for broadband networks and even the internet itself.

Verizon accused the FCC of asserting more authority than is granted to it by Congress and said that the rules create uncertainty in the industry, for both companies and consumers.

Verizon’s Senior Vice President, Michael Glover, said that Verizon remains committed to preserving an open internet and that the company has worked hard to help shape policies to ensure the internet remains open, but he suggested that the FCC’s rules go too far.

Verizon has been a key player in the net neutrality debate, forming an alliance with Google to draft up proposals, which were ultimately rejected by the FCC and criticised by many previous supporters, including Facebook, which said that the regulations should be left to the FCC.

Many at the time were fearful that the deal between Verizon and Google would end net neutrality and bring about favouritism between internet service providers and internet-based firms. When the FCC drafted its own rules that debate appeared to be closed, but Verizon is clearly not giving up without a fight.