High-tech computing firm Nutanix has purchased two startups to enhance its data and storage services, as the firm continues to grow its business despite a protracted delay in its initial public offering.
San Jose, California-based Nutanix said on Sunday it bought PernixData, a software company that facilitates data storage, and Calm.io, a development and automation startup, both also located in California.
Adding the new technologies will enable Nutanix to improve the speed of its cloud computing platform and enhance or create new software products, the company said.
The chief executives of both acquired companies said their company culture and technology were complementary with Nutanix’s.
“One thing that keeps both these companies going is innovation,” PernixData CEO and Co-founder Poojan Kumar said on a call with reporters.
The deal is a move to grow Nutanix’s business while remaining in the private market, despite the company filing for an IPO in December. At the time, the company estimated raising $200 million in the deal, but has not yet priced shares.
Investors expected Nutanix – valued at $2 billion after its last financing round – to be among the first companies out in January, but a volatile market battered public technology stocks and put the IPO market into a deep freeze. The market remains challenging, with just 59 deals pricing this year, down 55 percent from the same time last year, according to Renaissance Capital, a manager of IPO-focused funds.
Technology IPOs have been particularly difficult, as buyers are reluctant about valuations. There were no technology IPOs this year until April, and there have been only seven since.
Some experts say the acquisitions will further kick out Nutanix’s IPO, as the companies will need time to integrate their employees and technology.
“Larger transactions … push out IPOs as integration and other aspects of a deal can create one more thing for investors to understand and management teams to articulate,” said Kapil Venkatachalam, principal at Technology Crossover Ventures, who was not part of the Nutanix deal.
“The acquisitions of Calm.io and PernixData are completely independent of any IPO process and have no impact on any plans,” a Nutanix spokesman said.
“Our board, with the assistance of independent advisors, determined that this transaction, upon closing, will deliver immediate, significant and certain cash value to our stockholders,” said Graham Weston, co-founder and chairman of Rackspace, in a statement. “We are also excited that this transaction will provide Rackspace with more flexibility to manage the business for long-term growth and enhance our product offerings.”
The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter.
Rackspace, based in Texas, has been known as a significant player in the cloud market, competing in the same company as Alphabet’s Google, Microsoft and AWS. It is also known as a web hosting provider.
However, Rackspace has focused on virtual private data centers, which are an extension of a private data center, while the cloud market is leaning heavily toward the pay-as-you-go, consumption-based pricing of the public cloud.
That change has been tough on Rackspace. In May 2015, the company’s stock was over $50 per share. Today it’s just over $30.
By being acquired, Rackspace will transition from a public to a private company that no longer will have stockholders, who likely would be unhappy with the costs and tumult that transitioning the company to a public cloud provider would entail.
“Rackspace has had a big brand and now they need to go through a transition,” said Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research. “Going private can help companies make necessary transitions without worrying about quarterly numbers.”
Taylor Rhodes, president and CEO of Rackspace, said in a blog post that the acquisition will help the company grow.
IBM launched its Power8 lineup of superscalar symmetric multiprocessors back in August 2013 at the Hot Chips conference, and the first systems became available in August 2014. The announcement was significant because it signaled the beginning of a continuing partnership between IBM and Nvidia to develop GPU-accelerated IBM server systems, beginning with the Tesla K40 GPU.
The result was an HPC “tag-team” where IBM’s Power8 architecture, a 12-core chip with 96MB of embedded memory, would eventually go on to power Nvidia’s next-generation Pascal architecture which debuted in April 2016 at the company’s GPU Technology Conference.
NVLINK, first announced in March 2014, uses a proprietary High-Speed Signaling interconnect (NVHS) developed by Nvidia. The company says NVHS transmits data over a differential pair running at up to 20Gbps, so eight of these differential 20Gbps connections will form a 160Gbps “Sub-Link” that sends data in one direction. Two sub-links—one for each direction—will form a 320Gbps, or 40GB/s bi-directional “Link” that connects processors together in a mesh framework (GPU-to-GPU or GPU-to-CPU).
NVLINK lanes upgrade from 20Gbps to 25Gbps
IBM is projecting its Power9 servers to be available beginning in the middle of 2017, with PCWorld reporting that the new processor lineup will include support for NVLINK 2.0 technology. Each NVLINK lane will communicate at 25Gbps, up from 20Gbps in the first iteration. With eight differential lanes, this translates to a 400Gbps (50GB/s) bi-directional link between CPUs and GPUs, or about 25 percent more performance if the information is correct.
NVLINK 2.0 capable servers arriving next year
Meanwhile, Nvidia has yet to release any NVLINK 2.0-capable GPUs, but a company presentation slide in Korean language suggests that the technology will first appear in Volta GPUs which are also scheduled for release sometime next year. We were originally under the impression that the new GPU architecture would release in 2018, as per Nvidia’s roadmap. But a source hinted last month that Volta would be getting 16nm FinFET treatment and may show up in roughly the same timeframe as AMD’s HBM 2.0-powered Vega sometime in 2017. After all, it is easier for Nvidia to launch sooner if the new architecture is built on the same node as the Pascal lineup.
Still ahead of PCI-Express 4.0
Nvidia claims that PCI-Express 3.0 (32GB/s with x16 bandwidth) significantly limits a GPU’s ability to access a CPU’s memory system and is about “four to five times slower” than its proprietary standard. Even PCI-Express 4.0, releasing later in 2017, is limited to 64GB/s on a slot with x16 bandwidth.
To put this in perspective, Nvidia’s Tesla P100 Accelerator uses four 40GB/s NVLINK ports to connect clusters of GPUs and CPUs, for a total of 160GB/s of bandwidth.
With a generational NVLINK upgrade from 40GB/s to 50GB/s bi-directional links, the company could release a future Volta-based GPU with four 50GB/s NVLINK ports totaling of 200GB/s of bandwidth, well above and beyond the specifications of the new PCI-Express standard.
Better-than-expected demand for Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s new Galaxy Note 7 is creating supply problems worldwide, the South Korean tech giant said, suggesting strong initial sales for the new premium smartphone.
While robust demand could help deliver another solid quarter of earnings, Samsung also risks missing out on potential sales if it cannot boost supply quickly. Rivals such as Apple Inc are poised to launch new phones which could pull customers away from Samsung if a shortage persists.
“As pre-order results for the Galaxy Note 7 have far exceeded our estimates, its release date in some markets has been adjusted,” Samsung told Reuters in a statement without commenting on where launch delays could occur.
Production problems for the curved displays for the Galaxy S6 edge phone resulted in disappointing sales last year, and some investors fear a repeat if the world’s top smartphone maker does not move quickly to meet Note 7 demand.
Samsung said it was trying to boost production at the secret locations where the Notes are made, and aimed to meet demand “as early as possible”. It gave no further details.
A person familiar with the matter told Reuters there was no production issue for the curved screens used on the Galaxy Note 7 and that the shortage would not be a long-term problem.
“The party got more visitors than Samsung expected, so they just need to put more food out,” said Nomura analyst C.W. Chung, who said the supply situation was not a major risk given that Samsung made key parts such as displays and chips in-house.
Samsung could sell as many as 15 million Galaxy Note 7 phones this year, Chung said, compared with an estimated 9 million Galaxy Note 5 phones sold last year.
The phone went on sale on Aug. 19 in countries including the United States and South Korea, where it retails for 988,900 won ($882).
The acquisition would make Xylem a major player in the market for smart meters, at a time when regulatory requirements and a drive for savings are pushing both companies and consumers to control their water and energy consumption more tightly.
Xylem will finance the deal with about $400 million of its non-U.S. cash, new and existing credit facilities, and a combination of short- and long-term debt, the company said in a statement.
Xylem, which manufactures equipment used in water and wastewater applications, reaffirmed its 2016 earnings forecast and said it expects the deal to add to its adjusted earnings in 2017.
Reuters exclusively reported earlier on Monday that the companies were nearing a deal.
Sensus, based in Raleigh, North Carolina, is a supplier of smart metering and related communications systems to the water, gas, heat and electric utility sectors. Its revenue was $837 in the year ended March 2016.
Xylem said the purchase price was 10.7 times Sensus’s adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) in fiscal 2016. Rye Brook, New York-based Xylem had revenue of $3.7 billion last year.
Sensus is one of the longest held investments in the history of private equity. Buyout firm Jordan Company, in partnership with Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s private equity arm, acquired the company for $650 million in 2003.
Goldman’s private equity business still owns 34 percent of Sensus, with Jordan Company owning the remainder.
Sensus’s financial metrics have steadily improved since bottoming three years ago, driven by stronger end-market demand and comprehensive cost-cutting initiatives, ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service Inc said earlier this year.
New product launches, combined with Sensus’s restructuring efforts, should benefit operating results over the medium term, Moody’s added.
Troubled mobile phone maker BlackBerry has decided to make a bit more money by suing those it thinks stole its ideas.
A patent lawsuit has been launched against internet telephony outfit Avaya. However in making its case that Avaya should pay royalties, BlackBerry appears to be looking at what it has done rather than what it is doing. The firm argues that it should be paid for its history of innovation going back nearly 20 years.
The court papers say:
“BlackBerry revolutionised the mobile industry. BlackBerry… has invented a broad array of new technologies that cover everything from enhanced security and cryptographic techniques, to mobile device user interfaces, to communication servers, and many other areas.”
BlackBerry claims Avaya infringes eight US Patents:
Nos. 9,143,801 and 8,964,849, relating to “significance maps” for coding video data;
No. 8,116,739, describing methods of displaying messages;
No. 8,886,212, describing tracking location of mobile devices;
No. 8,688,439, relating to speech decoding and compression;
No. 7,440,561, describing integrating wireless phones into a PBX network;
No. 8,554,218, describing call routing methods; and
No. 7,372,961, a method of generating a cryptographic public key.
The oldest is 1998 and the most recent is 2011..
Products targeted by Blackberry include Avaya’s video conferencing systems, Avaya Communicator for iPad, a product that connects mobile users to IP Office systems, and various IP desk phones. .
The BlackBerry complaint states that the company notified Avaya of its alleged infringement of those specific patents in a letter dated December 17, 2015, which must have come as a bit of a surprise. It has been filed in the Northern District of Texas, which is less because the region is more patent friendly (like East Texas) but because it is where Avaya does business and maintains a two-story office.
BlackBerry has hired top patent lawyer Quinn Emanuel. The firm defended Samsung in the high-profile Apple v. Samsung case and has taken on various cases for Google.
Last year Cisco paid a “license fee” to Blackberry. Details were few and far between but it seems to have been to make Blackberry lawyers go away. In May, BlackBerry CEO John Chen told investors on an earnings call that he was in “patent licensing mode,” eager to monetize his company’s 38,000 patents.
The microblogging service operator’s shares fell 11 percent in extended trading to $16.40. While Twitter struggles to find a way to boost user growth and win over advertisers, social media services such as Instagram and Snapchat are expanding their footprints.
Co-founder Jack Dorsey returned to the company as chief executive a year ago, but his plan for reviving Twitter is at best seen as unfinished.
The company’s second quarter revenue missed Wall Street estimates and the revenue forecast for the current quarter of $590 million to $610 million was well below the average analyst estimate of $678.18 million.
Twitter’s user base increased about 1 percent to 313 million average monthly active users in the second quarter from 310 million in the first quarter.
“Clearly, the turnaround is still a work in progress and the question of whether being a platform for a mass audience versus a niche audience needs to be answered,” said James Cakmak, analyst at Monness, Crespi, Hardt & Co.
Earlier this year, Twitter laid out a long-term strategy to turn around its business, focusing on five areas: its core service, live-streaming video, the site’s “creators and influencers,” safety and developers.
In live video, the company has signed deals with Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association to revive user growth and attract more advertising dollars. Executives also said Twitter was investing more in user safety as the company continues to grapple with high-profile instances of abuse and harassment.
Struggling with flat user growth and lower spending by advertisers, Twitter has doubled down on attracting more people and encouraging existing advertisers to spend more as it tries to shape its stagnating business.
“We are a year into Dorsey coming back and there is really no end in sight of when it is going to start picking up to where investors are going to be happy,” said Patrick Moorhead, analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy.
Twitter is also working to better define its role in the social media landscape. This week it rolled out a video ad that showed it as the place to go for live news, updates and discussion about current events, which executives also emphasized on a call with analysts.
If you look at adverts for Samsung’s new Galaxy you would be forgiven for thinking that the smartphone is waterproof. Unfortunately according to US consumer reports, it isn’t.
The Samsung advert shown in Italy ends with the dramatic placing of a Galaxy into a glass of water. Which looks impressive.
Consumer Reports performs an immersion test when a manufacturer claims that its product is water-resistant and the Galaxy S7 Active failed.
While the phone performed extremely well in other tests. Consumer Reports is refusing to recommend it because the water resistant claim is incorrect.
Samsung says its phone follows an engineering standard called IP68 that covers both dust- and water-resistance, and that the phone is designed to survive immersion in five feet of water for 30 minutes.
Consumer Reports placed a Galaxy S7 Active in a water tank pressurised to 2.12 pounds-per-square-inch, the equivalent of just under five feet of water, and set a timer for 30 minutes. When it removed the phone, the screen was obscured by green lines, and tiny bubbles were visible in the lenses of the front- and rear-facing cameras. The touchscreen was borked.
A second Galaxy S7 Active also failed the same test and neither phone worked properly again.
Samsung says it has received “very few complaints” about this problem, and that in all cases, the phones were covered under warranty. A spokes Samsung sang:
“The Samsung Galaxy S7 active device is one of the most rugged phones to date and is highly resistant to scratches and IP68 certified. There may be an off-chance that a defective device is not as watertight as it should be.”
The company says it is investigating the matter.
Blackberry is hoping to pull its nadgers out of the fire by licencing its mobile software to other outfits.
However BlackBerry CEO John Chen had to admit that there has been zero revenue from the endeavour, which he started off last month.
Chen said he’s been in discussions with some phone manufacturers and set-top box operators who have expressed interest and “anything was possible.”
He added he’s not opposed to licensing BlackBerry’s security software either if the right deal comes along. He expects BlackBerry to break even or record a slight profit in its new mobility solutions segment, which includes device and software licensing sales, during the third quarter that in November.
Making the segment profitable this fiscal year is one of the company’s top goals, Chen said.
It’s too soon to project how much revenue the software-licensing venture can garner, Chen said, so to achieve the goal by the end of November, BlackBerry will have to ensure its devices are on track for profitability as well.
The company’s newest phone, the Android-powered Priv, has moved slower than hoped. In fact it moved slower than a student who had been up all night playing counterstrike.
During BlackBerry’s first quarter — the second full quarter to include Priv sales — the smartphone segment generated US$152 million of revenue and had a US$21-million operating loss. Chen promised that loss would be significantly smaller in the next quarter.
The company sold roughly 500,000 devices at an average price of $290 each, he said, which is about 100,000 smartphones fewer than the previous quarter and about 200,000 fewer than two quarters earlier. BlackBerry previously said the company needs to sell about three million phones at an average of $300 each to break even, though Chen indicated that may change as the software licensing business starts to contribute to revenue.
Chen said the Priv has proved unaffordable to most people, except for top-level executives.
The company plans to release two mid-range, Android-powered phones before its current fiscal year ends Feb. 28, 2017, he said. More information on the devices is expected next month, but Chen said one will only have a touch screen rather than BlackBerry’s traditional keyboard.
The company is trying to reach the market in more innovative ways. It’s currently hosting a pop-up shop in New York City, and Chen said he’d consider more of them around the world if the trial is successful.
“I really, really believe that we could make money … out of our device business,” he said during a conference call with analysts Thursday morning.
Chen previously indicated the company will stop making smartphones if the device business remains unprofitable. While he said he doesn’t believe that will be necessary, the software licensing plan could help make the transition smoother if the time comes.
BlackBerry reported a $670 million net loss in the first quarter of its 2017 financial year, but said its recovery plan for the year remains on track.
Revenue was below analyst estimates at $400 million under generally accepted accounting principles, or US$424 million with certain adjustments.
For Google Fiber, which has typically worked with cities in planning and building a fiber network from scratch, the acquisition will give the Alphabet business a headstart in many markets, particularly in dense urban areas.
Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Google did not immediately comment on the acquisition.
Webpass in San Francisco owns and operates its Ethernet network, thus removing its dependence on phone and cable companies. It has operations in San Francisco, Oakland, Emeryville, Berkeley, San Diego, Miami, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Chicago and Boston. The company offers business connections from 10 to 1,000 Mbps and to residential customers service from 100 Mbps to 1Gbps.
Google is already working in San Francisco, where Webpass also operates, and is negotiating with property owners and managers in buildings near existing fiber infrastructure to explore connecting their residents to gigabit Internet.
Webpass will help to further expand that coverage as it will remain focused on the rapid deployment of high-speed Internet connections for residential and commercial buildings, mainly using point-to-point wireless, Webpass President Charles Barr said in a blog post Wednesday that announced the proposed acquisition.
“Google Fiber’s resources will enable Webpass to grow faster and reach many more customers than we could as a standalone company,” Barr wrote.
“The device business must be profitable, because we don’t want to run a business that drags onto the bottom line,” Chief Executive John Chen told investors at the company’s annual meeting. “We’ve got to get there this year.”
Chen has previously said a decision would be made by September on the future of the unit, which has suffered a sustained drop in sales in recent quarters.
But at the meeting, attended by around 100 people, he said he sees better opportunity in providing services that enable increasingly commoditized hardware to do more.
“I don’t personally believe handsets will be the future of any company,” he said.
BlackBerry, once the smartphone market leader before being displaced by Apple Inc and competitors run on Alphabet Inc’s Android platform, has worked to reposition itself as a software and service provider focused on device management for large organizations.
In its presentation to investors, the company said it expects the broader market for types of software it is producing to expand to $17.6 billion by 2019, from $525 million in 2012 and below $4 billion in 2015, powered by growth in medical, legal, financial and automotive industries.
But some of those in attendance were skeptical about BlackBerry’s ability to deliver on its strategic pivot.
“The first word that comes to mind is lackluster,” said one shareholder at the meeting who declined to give his name. “Time is running out.”
Chen reiterated that BlackBerry wants to grow its software revenue by 30 percent in this fiscal year, which he estimated would be double overall market growth, and to notch positive free cash flow.
BlackBerry is due to report first quarter results on Thursday.
Chen took up the CEO role in 2013 with a reputation as a turnaround artist. But the company’s stock has only risen modestly since then, with many investors waiting for signs the now-smaller company will be able to carve out new opportunities.
“I appreciate the strategy,” said Ken Tota, an investor in BlackBerry’s biggest shareholder, Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. He said he was optimistic a renewed focus on security could help reinvigorate BlackBerry over the next five years.
“It’s a niche, but it’s a worldwide niche,” he said.
While investors believe privately owned Spotify is probably heading for a public listing, some industry analysts see the loss-making company as a takeover target for a larger tech giant with deeper pockets.
“My selfish ambition with Spotify is just trying to show … that we can create one of those super companies here in Europe,” he told journalists at the symposium Brilliant Minds, which aims to bring artists and musicians together with the tech community.
Asked if that meant he was not up for selling the firm, Ek said: “I’m not going to sell, no.”
Spotify, founded in 2006, pays more than 80 percent of its revenue to record labels and artists and has not yet shown a profit as it spends to grow internationally. It competes in a business crowded with formidable rivals such as Apple Music, Google Music and YouTube.
Many other European tech start-ups have been swallowed up by bigger Silicon Valley competitors.
Ek said Silicon Valley got an earlier start in building up its tech giants but that Europe finally has the right conditions to support its own entrepreneurs.
“For the first time now there’s an ecosystem around it with capital and experience that can actually help guide entrepreneurs,” he said.
“The number one advice I tell everyone is ‘don’t sell’, because that’s the biggest problem we have. All these things could grow gigantic if you just kept the course and kept doing what you’re doing,” he added.
Last year Spotify made an operating loss of 184.5 million euros ($205 million), widening from 165.1 million in 2014.
Spotify, whose investors include Northzone, DST Global and Accel, does not disclose details about its ownership but the co-founders no longer own a majority, having sold off stakes.
Yahoo Inc has hired boutique investment bank Black Stone IP LLC to aid in the selling of nearly 3,000 of the internet company’s patents, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
The company has sent letters to a number of potential buyers for the patents, which date back to when the company was founded in 1996 and also include its original search technology, the report said.
The deadline for bids for the patents has been set for mid-June by Yahoo, according to the Wall Street Journal.
In March, Yahoo said it would explore the sale of $1 billion to $3 billion of patents, property and “non-core assets”.
Yahoo and Black Stone IP were not immediately available for comment.
Verizon Communications Inc is gearing up to submit a second-round bid of around $3 billion for Yahoo Inc’s core internet business, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
Private-equity firm TPG was also expected to submit a second round bid for the assets, the newspaper reported.
Reuters reported last month that Verizon had added Bank of America to its roster of investment banks, as it looked to gain an edge over other bidders for Yahoo’s core assets.
Yahoo is expected to hold at least one more round of bidding, and the offers could change by the final round, the paper reported.
Yahoo did not comment on the report, while Verizon declined to comment.
HelloTech will combine its network of about 150 college students who provide on-demand tech repair to Southern California consumers with Geekatoo’s U.S. network of about 5,000 technicians, the companies said in a joint statement.
The merger connects HelloTech with Geekatoo’s national market and provides Geekatoo with more access to venture capital funding, HelloTech co-founder Richard Wolpert said in an interview.
HelloTech, which launched about a year ago, has raised $17 million from investors, while 5-year-old Geekatoo has raised close to $3 million.
“You could either use capital to expand really quickly or you could merge with a company like Geekatoo that had already spent money doing this,” said Mark Suster, managing partner at Upfront Ventures, which backed HelloTech.
The new company keeps the HelloTech name and will be led by Wolpert. He said the deal was a stock transaction, rather than a cash payment, but declined to provide further details.
Both companies dispatch in-home tech support within hours of a request to fix a wonky printer, install a new TV or troubleshoot WiFi problems, among other services.
HelloTech hit a few bumps last year after launching, with some negative customer feedback that its workforce of predominantly college students was unprofessional.
Wolpert said the company has worked out the glitches. HelloTech has a five-star rating on customer review site Yelp.
Geekatoo Executive Chairman Christian Shelton saw demand for tech services rising as more people add internet-connected devices – such as the smart thermostat Nest or WiFi camera Dropcam – to their homes.
The U.S. tech support industry makes about $30 billion in annual revenue, according to research by Parks Associates, a consulting firm.
“The opportunity is massive,” Wolpert said.
The company’s main competition is Geek Squad, a tech support service founded in 1994 and owned by big-box retailer Best Buy.
HelloTech targets baby boomers with disposable income to spend on new gadgets and someone to help get them up and running.
“There is enormous wealth in the baby boomer generation,” Suster said, and their “digital lives are becoming increasingly complicated.”