The tech business week: Hutchison Whampoa talks O2 UK, changes at eBay

26 Jan 2015

A digest of the top business technology news stories from the past week, beginning with Hutchison Whampoa confirming talks to buy mobile carrier O2 UK for €13.5bn.

Hutchison Whampoa confirms it is in exclusive talks to buy O2 UK for €13.5bn

The move follows hot on the heels of a development whereby BT will acquire Everything Everywhere from Orange (Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom) for €15.7bn (stg£12.5bn).

As previously reported by, by merging Three with O2, Hutchison Whampoa will own effectively the largest mobile carrier in the UK.

It is understood that stg£9.2bn will be paid to Telefónica at closing of the deal following due diligence.

eBay plans to cut 2,400 workers, also plans to sell or IPO its enterprise division

Online auction giant eBay is planning to cut 7pc of its workforce – some 2,400 people – ahead of plans to spin out its payments division PayPal.

eBay is also planning to sell off or IPO its eBay Enterprise unit, which serves bricks-and-mortar businesses with software, warehousing and logistics services.

“Looking forward to 2015, we will be simplifying organisational structures to focus the businesses and ensure that we are set up to compete and win,” said John Donahoe, president and CEO of eBay.

Microsoft buys out e-discovery start-up to sift through Office 365 user data

Software giant Microsoft has acquired Equivio, a company heavily invested in machine learning technology that Microsoft aims to include in its Office 365 program to sift through reams of data.

Announcing the purchase of the US/Israeli start-up on its blog, Microsoft said Equivio’s e-discovery software will allow users of its Office 365 system to better sort through the huge quantity of data produced and find what would be most relevant to the company from a legal or compliance perspective.

While the financial aspect of the deal has not been disclosed, VentureBeat suggests initial reports last year indicated a price of US$100m-US$200m.

Facebook economy generated US$225bn of economic activity and 4.5m jobs in 2014

The economic impact of Facebook in 2014 resulted in some US$225bn worth of economic activity and generated more than 4.5m jobs worldwide, according to researchers at Deloitte.

Commissioned by Facebook, the report by Deloitte titled Facebook’s Global Economic Impact, estimates the social network has a cost base of about US$8bn.

The report analysed how Facebook’s marketing, platform, and connectivity effects have facilitated growth and jobs around the world.

The US is estimated to have captured the largest share of economic impact, with some US$100bn worth of business enabled in 2014.

IBM Q4 revenues down 12pc, but discovers silver lining in the cloud

While tech giant IBM navigates choppy financial waters – fourth-quarter revenues were down 12pc to US$24.1bn – it has discovered a silver lining in the cloud, where revenues of US$7bn from cloud were up 60pc from last year.

Cloud services revenue increased 75pc to US$3bn.

Fourth-quarter net income from operations totalled US$5.5bn, down 11pc on last year’s US$6.2bn.

Apple’s Tim Cook earns a lot of money

It has been revealed that Apple CEO Tim Cook earns a lot of money – US$9.22m last year, in fact.

As revealed by Bloomberg, Cook’s pay package for 2014 included his set salary of US$1.75m and a payout of US$6.7m in non-equity incentive compensation for the fiscal year that ended in September. It adds up to a 50pc rise in Cook’s earnings when compared to 2013.

Apple revealed the information in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Financial results this week

Several major tech companies are scheduled to release their financial results this week. Software giant Microsoft is expected to report its second-quarter earnings today, consumer tech giant Apple will unveil its first-quarter financial picture tomorrow, social network Facebook will divulge its fourth-quarter and full-year 2014 earnings on Wednesday, and both e-commerce behemoth Amazon and internet search titan Google are due to report their fourth-quarter results on Thursday.

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O2 store in London image via Shutterstock