Eurobites: MTN Heads for IPO in Ghana

In today's EMEA regional roundup: MTN has started the IPO process for its operation in Ghana; Apax snaffles Expereo; Qualcomm likes Gemalto's eSIM; HERE and Sigfox get jiggy with IoT (geddit?); and anyone for Holotennis?

  • Mobile operator MTN Ghana, part of the MTN Group Ltd. empire, has started an IPO process that will see it listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange later this summer. The country's leading mobile operator is offering almost 4.64 billion shares to investors -- 35% of its total stock -- and hopes to raise 3.47 billion Ghanaian cedis (US$743 million) in a listing that would value the operator at about GHS10 billion ($2.1 billion). The operator agreed to the IPO when it accepted the award of its 4G license in 2015. For the full story from our sister site Connecting Africa, see MTN Ghana Launches IPO Process.

  • Paris-based Apax Partners has acquired Amsterdam-based managed connectivity, cloud and SD-WAN services firm Expereo from The Carlyle Group. Expereo, which provides cloud and connectivity services to more than 11,500 enterprise and government sites around the world, reported revenues of €92 million in 2017. The companies did not disclose any financial terms, but according to Private Equity News, the deal was worth more than €320 million, with Carlyle netting a five-times return on its 2014 majority stake investment in Expereo.

  • Amsterdam-based Gemalto has landed a deal to have its eSIM technology integrated into Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM)'s Snapdragon Mobile PC platform. For more on this from our sister site Telecoms.com, read Gemalto bags Qualcomm deal for PC eSIMs.

  • Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) has opened a new local headquarters in Budapest, Hungary, and signed a strategic partnership with Budapest University of Technology and Economics that will see the two parties "extend collaboration aimed at long-term close cooperation in education, research, and innovation." More than 1,700 of Ericsson Hungary's 2,000 employees work at the site, of which 1,400 are in R&D roles. The site includes a "hypermodern test laboratory" and an Ericsson Garage.

  • HERE Technologies and Sigfox have joined forces to develop and deploy a global location service based on the former's WiFi hotspots and the latter's international IoT network and geolocation engine. According to the partners, the service will enable enterprise and retail users to "locate their assets everywhere, both indoors (including inside factories warehouses and other buildings) and outdoors, without any additional infrastructure, regardless of the size and quantity of assets." The partners believe their collaborative efforts will "open new opportunities for Internet of Things (IoT) applications, particularly in supply chain and logistics." Now, where did I leave my keys?

  • Anyone for Holotennis? Visitors to the upcoming French Open tennis tournament are in for a digital treat as Orange (NYSE: FTE), which has been a partner to the Grand Slam event for the past 17 years, is serving up "an immersive experience foreshadowing future developments in the sporting world and communications." That experience is Holotennis, which, using the fast broadband speeds of Orange's fiber network and a virtual reality headset, will enable spectators at Roland-Garros to compete with a hologram rival on the famous Philippe-Chatrier court. The gimmick was on offer last year too, but this time it's "even more immersive with a more realistic game." Unfortunately, that probably means your service will still suck. For those not wanting to get beaten by a hologram, a viewing experience is on offer as the Holotennis games will be broadcast live via augmented reality applications installed on tablet devices. Well, it'll be something to do if it's raining, right? (See Orange Aces French Open with Fiber & Digital Tech.)

    — Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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