May seemed to be the month of acquisitions, mergers and take overs as some of South Africa’s biggest companies managed to either get a lot of funding, or partner with other big players in the market.
While it might not be the biggest online retailer, Takealot certainly has the widest footprint of all in SA. One company that took notice of the retailer’s growth is Tiger Global Management, who pledged R1-billion ($100-million) in funding. Founded by Charles P. Coleman III in 2001, Tiger Global manages hedge and private equity funds by investing in local and global public and private equity markets.
South Africa-born technology entrepreneur Elon Musk unveiled its Dragon V2 spacecraft – the same one that his company SpaceX will be using to ferry people to Mars one day. “Its extremely important for revolutionizing access to space. Because as long as we continue to throw away rockets and spacecraft, we will never have true access to space,” Musk said at the time. Reusable rockets and space capsules like the Grasshopper and the Dragon V2 are the cornerstone of Musk’s plans to send people to Mars in the near future.
Internet Solution (IS), one of the biggest pan-African communications services providers, announced late in May that it would be increasing their stake in WiFi provider AlwaysOn from 51% to a full 100%. Rightfully so, Internet Solutions detailed at the time that WiFi has become a major factor in connecting device across the world, while there has also been an increase in the demand for cloud service. The deal allowed IS to leverage off AlwaysOn’s 1 400 locations in South Africa, who also offers roaming capabilities at over a million hotspots in 110 countries.
South Africa’s fixed-line and mobile operator Telkom revealed in late May that it has entered into talks to acquire a 100% stake in IT services group Business Connexion (BCX) – to the tune of R2.7 billion. In terms of business model, BCX is considered to be one of the largest ICT service providers when examining their turnover, total assets and staff compliment, and the company is also listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
May also saw a controversial website and Facebook page make its appearance. The page called ‘Schoolfights’ purported to only index internet videos of school children fighting each other – often with gruesome results. After being brought to the attention of nationwide media that the creator was initially paying contributors for content, the website was silently removed, but the Facebook page still remained.