The tech business week: UPC, GuestLogix and Microsoft buys, Uber raises US$1.2bn


8 Dec 2014

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A digest of the top business technology news stories from the past week, beginning with the news UPC Business has acquired Irish and UK Wi-Fi operator Bitbuzz for up to €6m.

UPC buys Wi-Fi provider Bitbuzz for between €5m and €6m

UPC Business has acquired Irish and UK Wi-Fi operator Bitbuzz. While terms and conditions weren’t disclosed, the cable giant is believed to have paid between €5m and €6m for Bitbuzz.

Bitbuzz, which was founded in 2003 in Dublin, operates an extensive Wi-Fi network across airports, hotels, café bars, pubs and other public locations across Ireland and the UK.

UPC’s business division acquired the Wi-Fi operator in a move aimed at strengthening its presence in key business markets.

GuestLogix acquires OpenJaw Technologies for US$41.2m

Irish travel technology player OpenJaw Technologies has been acquired by airline technology giant GuestLogix for US$41.2m.

GuestLogix’s systems provide retail and payment solutions for use on board aircraft and other modes of transport, including self-service technologies.

“With industry experts forecasting ancillary revenue in the airline industry alone to grow by an additional US$130bn by the year 2020, we recognise that there is an insatiable appetite to unilaterally support ancillary revenue initiatives across a travel company’s entire operation,” said Brett Proud, president and CEO of GuestLogix.

“The fusion of GuestLogix’s talent and best-in-class technology with the exceptional counterparts that reside within OpenJaw puts us on an elevated growth trajectory.”

Microsoft buys email start-up Acompli for US$200m

Microsoft is attempting to bolster its mobile email capabilities with the purchase of Acompli, a provider of mobile email apps for iOS and Android, for a cool US$200m.

Microsoft said this move is part of its “company-wide effort to help people accomplish more with their mobile devices”.

Acompli as an app is one of the most popular of its kind for accessing email, particularly Microsoft’s, and is designed with a focus on mobile interaction with email, rather than as simply a reader before switching to a desktop version.

Uber bonanza – ride-sharing app raises US$1.2bn and reaches US$40bn valuation

Car-booking app Uber has confirmed it has raised US$1.2bn in fresh investment, which now values the most highly venture-backed start-up at US$40bn. Not bad for what is technically still a start-up.

New investors in Uber, founded in 2009, include Middle East sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority as well as two hedge funds Valiant Capital Partners and Lone Pine Capital.

New Enterprise Associates, one of the world’s oldest and largest venture capital players, is also understood to have contributed to the round.

Carnage averted at the top at Samsung … for now

Leading executives at Samsung Electronics Co will remain in their current positions, with Sony Mobile chief JK Shin staying on as CEO and BK Yoon remaining chief of the consumer electronics unit.

Major changes to the management teams at Samsung’s mobile, electronics and components divisions had been anticipated as the company seeks to improve profitability.

It appears management changes at Samsung Group have been quite light, according to The Wall Street Journal. But one change is notable; the president and head of Samsung’s software and services group Hong Won-pyo has been named president and head of Samsung’s global marketing strategy group. Is this a strong signal of intent for the future?

Apple CEO Tim Cook lends his name to Alabama LGBT bill

Apple CEO Tim Cook is allowing his name to be added to new Alabama legislation that bars discrimination against state employees on the basis of their sexual orientation.

The 54-year-old publicly announced he was gay for the first time in October by penning an open letter that addressed the discrimination he has faced.

According to Democratic State Representative Patricia Todd (Alabama’s only openly gay lawmaker), Cook was initially hesitant to lend his name to the bill, but later embraced the idea.

“Tim was honored to hear that State Representative Todd wanted to name an anti-discrimination bill after him, and we’re sorry if there was any miscommunication about it,” Apple told Reuters in a statement. “We have a long history of support for LGBT rights and we hope every state will embrace workplace equality for all.”

Business Wi-Fi image via Shutterstock

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