Deals done this past week

16 May 2011

An overview of the week in deals in the Irish and global technology sector.

Microsoft confirms Skype acquisition

Microsoft has confirmed it will acquire Skype for US$8.5bn in cash, stretching Skype’s support to services such as Xbox, Kinect, Windows Phone, Outlook and Lync.

Microsoft aims to use Skype’s video calling service to enhance its existing portfolio of real-time communications products.

Products and services which will gain Skype support include Outlook, Messenger, Hotmail, Xbox LIVE, Kinect, Windows Phone and Lync, among others. Microsoft said it will continue to invest in and support Skype clients on non-Microsoft platforms.

“Skype is a phenomenal service that is loved by millions of people around the world,” said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

 I.T. Alliance invests €750,000 in cloud infrastructure

Technology outsourcing player I.T. Alliance is to invest €750,000 to build a new cloud computing division with support from Enterprise Ireland’s R&D fund. Seven new jobs have already been created.

This is the first expansion  by I.T. Alliance into the cloud. The company, which employs approximately 400 people, increased revenues by 15pc last year.

“Companies are adopting the cloud in unprecedented numbers but they need dedicated support. Our new service will provide a virtual support service,” commented Philip Maguire, CEO, I.T. Alliance.

I.T. Alliance is part of Enterprise Ireland’s scaling programme designed to support indigenous firms with the potential to grow revenues in excess of €100m.

Sophos acquires Astaro for improved security solutions

Security firm Sophos will acquire network security solutions provider Astaro for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition aims to fuse their portfolios to provide multi-function security appliances with better protection against threats in an easy to use way. Sophos pointed out that IDC research said the market for unified threat management was US$2bn worldwide in 2010.

“The combination of Astaro’s comprehensive portfolio of network security solutions alongside our endpoint, mobile and email and web threat and data protection capabilities will enable us to continue to deliver on our vision of providing complete security without complexity wherever the user and company data resides,” said Steve Munford, CEO of Sophos. 

NewBay opens offices to expand further in Asia-Pacific

Dublin-based digital content services company NewBay is opening offices in Sydney, Australia, and Seoul, South Korea, to accelerate its growth in the Asia-Pacific region.

The company already has a number of clients in Asia-Pacific, including LG Electronics and Telstra in Australia.

“Establishing a local base will enable us to accelerate our growth plans for the region, identify new market opportunities, and provide on the ground support for our client base,” said Paddy Holahan, CEO, NewBay.

Asia is the hub for consumer device innovation and we are now in a stronger position to work more closely with operators and device makers in APAC to drive innovation, usability and adoption of digital content cloud services.” 

Gaelectric to team up with Beacon Power on flywheel technology

Wind energy developer Gaelectric is to collaborate with Beacon Power to progress its expertise in flywheel energy storage technology.

Beacon Power designs, develops and commercialises advanced products and services to support stable, reliable and efficient electricity grid operation.

As part of the agreement, Gaelectric Energy Storage, the storage technology subsidiary of Gaelectric, a wind energy developer in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Montana in the US, will identify opportunities for flywheel technology on the Irish grid and develop flywheel-based projects.

The two companies have already jointly funded an extensive study of the Irish grid under various scenarios of future wind penetration. According to the study, deploying fast-response flywheel technology on a very large scale would improve grid stability, reduce wind curtailment, and improve the efficiency of the entire Irish grid, resulting in significant monetary and CO2 emissions savings.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years