Cloud Services

Eurobites: UKCloud Draws £25M Investment From Cisco-Linked Digital Alpha

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Vodafone invests in dodgy supplier-haircut fund; Openet CTO joins Matrixx; Vivendi wants probe into Elliott's governance at TIM.

  • UKCloud, a British multicloud specialist working in the public sector, has attracted a £25 million (US$33 million) investment from Digital Alpha, an investment firm that has strong ties to Cisco. The investment will be used expand the UKCloud team, as well as develop new product lines that come "pre-packaged" with Cisco's multicloud offering.

  • Vodafone Group's ethics, or lack thereof, have come under the spotlight today in a Bloomberg report that reveals how the operator is investing in a fund that makes money by encouraging suppliers to accept a reduced payment for goods and services on condition that their invoices actually get paid on time. According to the report, Vodafone has already invested €1 billion ($1.1 billion) into the €2.4 billion ($2.7 billion) fund, which is run by Swiss asset manager GAM Holding AG.

  • Marc Price has jumped ship from Irish policy and charging software specialist Openet, where he was CTO for the Americas, to join a rival, Matrixx Software, as its global CTO. The appointment enables Matrixx founder Dave Labuda, currently CTO and CEO, to focus on leading the company, which suggests to Light Reading that 2019 might be the year when Matrixx, one of the more progressive cloud-native telecom software vendors, looks to M&A as a way to take it to the next stage of its development. The move for Price comes at a time when Openet appears to be recovering well from a tough 2018. (See Fantastic BSS beasts and how Openet can tame them and MWC19: A soft embrace for the public cloud.)

  • France's Vivendi has called upon Telecom Italia's auditors and regulator Consob to further investigate the behavior of Elliott, the activist investor that has wrested control of the Italian incumbent from Vivendi. In a statement, Vivendi said that "a series of governance questions remain unanswered today," not least why the chairman of Telecom Italia's board organized the preparatory meeting concerning the dismissal of Amos Genish with the sole participation of the ten board members designated by Elliott. (See Elliott ups Telecom Italia stake as It battles Vivendi for control and Telecom Italia Ousts Its CEO.)

  • Anil Ambani, the Indian tycoon who among other things is the man behind Reliance Communications, has, in the nick of time, seen off the threat of a three-month jail term by paying Ericsson 462 crore ($67.3 million), which is most of the $80 million he owes the Swedish vendor, the Economic Times reports.

  • A group of British MPs has produced a report calling for an additional tax on social media companies' profits that could be used to fund research into the effect of social media on young people's wellbeing. As the BBC reports, the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Social Media and Young People's Mental Health and Wellbeing gathered experts, parents and young people to give evidence to their inquiry. Other proposals included establishing a "duty of care" on social media companies with registered UK users aged 24 and under.

  • Separately, Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the UK Labour opposition party, has called on social media companies to react more quickly to stop the broadcast of live atrocities like the mosque shootings in New Zealand last week. As Reuters reports, Corbyn said: "The social media platforms which were actually playing a video made by this person who is accused of murder ... all over the world, that surely has got to stop."

  • WorldPay, the UK-owned payments platform that enables millions of smartphone-based transactions, has been sold by the Royal Bank of Scotland to Florida-based Fidelity National Information Services (FIS) for $35 billion in cash and shares, plus WorldPay's debt, the BBC reports. Last October, WorldPay's joint boss, Philip Jansen, was lured away from the company to replace Gavin Patterson as the head of BT. (See BT's Jansen: We Need to Talk About Openreach.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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