Source: Telecom Paper
South African ISP Afrihost has agreed to acquire a majority stake in Cool Ideas, MyBroadband reported, subject to the necessary regulatory approvals. Afrihost and Cool Ideas are working to finalise the transaction as soon as possible. The parties hope to leverage the economies of scale of a larger network.
Cool Ideas will continue to operate as a stand-alone brand and business with the same management team and employees. All its original shareholders, including founders Andre Jooste and Paul Butschi, will retain stakes in the company. The other Cool Ideas shareholders are Roelf Diedericks and Shane Rees-Gibbs. Finances related to the deal have not been disclosed.
The majority stake in Cool Ideas will make Afrihost a significantly bigger player in the South African fibre ISP market. Afrihost already owns a majority stake in Axxess, one of the country’s premier service providers. This acquisition will create a powerhouse with three of South Africa’s top ISPs under the same umbrella. Cool Ideas was founded by Jooste and Butschi in 2011 when they explored prospects for starting a hosting business.
They also considered business offerings on the DFA network, but when Vumatel started deploying an FTTH network in Johannesburg, they saw a big opportunity. Cool Ideas partnered with Vumatel to offer fibre services in areas where it had coverage. The ISP showed rapid growth and started to offer fibre-to-the-home products on other fibre networks, including Openserve, Frogfoot and Octotel.
On Monday, Clicks announced plans to buy the retail pharmacy business of Pick n Pay, including 25 in-store pharmacies which will be rebranded to Clicks.
All staff employed in the pharmacies will transfer from Pick n Pay to Clicks.
While Shoprite has seen strong growth recently from its pharmacy group Medirite and medical supplier Transpharm, this is not a focus for Pick n Pay.
“We have recently set out our key strategic objectives in terms of future growth, and these do not include the development of a large pharmacy division,” Pick n Pay chief operating officer Adrian Naudé said in a statement. “Our main objectives in terms of transferring our pharmacy business have been to ensure that our customers have a seamless transition and maintain the quality of service they have been used to with Pick n Pay, and that our pharmacy staff are looked after. We are pleased to have reached an agreement with Clicks on both of these objectives.”
Clicks is the largest retail pharmacy network in the country, and the new deal will increase its national presence to 632 pharmacies.
“Currently 50% of the country’s population live within 6km of a Clicks pharmacy and we aim to improve this over time as we get closer to customers,” Vikesh Ramsunder, Clicks CEO said in a statement. The acquisition of the pharmacy chain from Pick n Pay will “accelerate” this strategy, he added.
The proposed transaction is subject to approval by competition and regulatory authorities.
Leading office stationery supplier TOWER acquired local business Sandart on 1 April 2021 in a strategic move to diversify their home product portfolio and take a local niche product to all four corners of the globe.
“TOWER is a proudly South African manufacturer, passionate about creating jobs, growing the South African economy, and making a positive impact on the community,” says TOWER CEO Stephen Beattie.
Together, TOWER and Sandart are on a mission to prove that a quality strong South African brand can compete internationally and become a global leader in its industry. “We are focused on creating products that meet consumers changing needs. With its focus on high quality products and dedication to fun and creativity, Sandart brings a fresh arm to the TOWER collection and TOWER is excited to have the opportunity to develop and nurture a business of Sandart’s calibre,” says Beattie.
Beattie explains how TOWER plans to leverage their strong network to position the Sandart brand name as a leading product in the evolving niche children’s entertainment market: “We hope to take the Sandart story to more consumers around the world through expanding the brand’s main current channel of independent distributors which promote the products at craft markets and kids parties, throughout Southern Africa and in the UK, Dubai and some European and South American countries, as well as distribute the brand alongside TOWER through retailers, a new channel for the brand, both locally and abroad.”
The opportunity to take the brand internationally has never been more pertinent. With the constant threat of lockdowns still hovering over many homes and schools across the world, Sandart is the ideal product to keep children entertained in a fun and educational way, especially when restricted to their homes.
Established in George in 2002, Sandart is an authentic product created from scratch as a family run business. The founders successfully launched several dynamic sticky art designs in their first year and have continued to grow the product since. “We are extremely excited about this partnership. It will only be positive for all of us with immense opportunities and new product offerings in future,” says Sandart MD Henry Joubert.
TOWER hopes that their partnership with Sandart will position leading locally crafted South African products as global competitors in the minds of international consumers and educational institutions alike.
South African budget retailer Mr Price Group has said that it would buy privately-owned kitchenware company Yuppiechef in a cash deal, to bolster its online presence and premium offerings.
Without revealing the deal size, Mr Price said the purchase consideration for the South African omni-channel retailer represents about 1% of its market capitalisation.
Mr Price Group’s current market cap is 47.29 billion rand ($3.17 billion), according to Refinitiv Eikon.
The budget clothing and homeware retailer has been looking to expand its market share and has rolled out new product lines to shore up sales and build its online strength, even as many brick-and-mortar retailers succumb to the COVID-19 crisis.
“Yuppiechef gives us another platform to escalate our ambitions in online retail and enables us to be strategically position for further growth,” Mr Price chief executive officer Mark Blair said.
Founded in 2006, Yuppiechef has two primary operations – a retail division comprising seven stores and an online platform, and a wholesale division, which develops and imports branded goods for wholesale distribution.
JSE-listed Imperial announced that it has acquired Parcelninja on 1 February 2021 in one of the largest e-commerce deals in South Africa.
Parcelninja was founded in 2013 by Justin Drennan, Ryan Drennan and Terence Murphy and it launched its first commercial services in October 2014.
It offers South African online shops an affordable outsourcing solution for all their fulfilment needs.
They integrate with most existing e-commerce engines and offer smart product warehousing, picking and packing, courier optimisation, and real-time reporting.
Parcelninja is therefore a logical fit for Imperial and helps the company to achieve its ambition of strengthening its digital offerings.
“This acquisition supports Imperial’s strategic ambitions to accelerate our digital capabilities and expand our logistics and market access services into last-mile distribution, e-commerce fulfilment, footprint and scale in Africa, while ensuring local relevance for our clients and principals,” Imperial said.
By Stephen Gunnion for InceConnected
Alviva Holdings has confirmed it is in talks to buy rival group Tarsus Technology Group. That follows a report on TechCentral yesterday morning.
In a cautionary announcement, the ICT company said a due diligence investigation on Tarsus had been concluded. If the deal went ahead, it said it could have a material effect on the price of its shares.
The ICT group has already conducted due diligence on its rival and a deal could affect the price of its shares.
Johannesburg-based Tarsus, which was called MB Technologies before a rebranding five years ago, says on its LinkedIn profile that it was founded in 1985. It lists the products and services its subsidiaries provide as supply chain optimisation, cloud-based solutions and IT security services, amongst others. Apart from branches in five other provinces, it also has offices in Namibia and Botswana and representation in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique.
Alviva’s businesses include Pinnacle, Axiz and Datacentrix, amongst others.
TechCentral reported that Alviva CEO Pierre Spies was CEO of Tarsus until 2013. It said the deal could raise competition concerns.
The company’s shares rose 3.65 to R8.30 on Tuesday.
By Sumit Rehal for Simple Flying
FlySafair has expressed an interest in purchasing fellow South African carrier Mango Airlines, if it is put up for sale. The airline’s Chief Executive Officer Elmar Conradie confirmed the potential move on Tuesday.
IOL reports that FlySafair’s management approached South African Airways’ administrators about a possible acquisition of the low-cost carrier. However, Conradie made it clear that he is only interested in Mango and not any other aspects of its struggling parent company.
Mango was founded in 2006 and operates mostly domestic routes within South Africa. However, it does serve Zanzibar, the is a semi-autonomous region of Tanzania.
Conradie affirmed that a purchase of SAA Technical, which specializes in aircraft maintenance would not make sense. This is because his carrier is already serviced by Safair Operations (Pty) Ltd, its own parent company.
South African Airways has been going through a dire period as of late with struggling financials. Last month, South Africa’s National Treasury shared that it will provide a $1 billion bailout for the country’s flag carrier. However, this decision has been met with criticism by many members of the nation’s public due to the amount of funds being spent on the airline.
Meanwhile, FlySafair has been seeing great progress since it commenced operations six years ago. It currently flies to seven destinations across South Africa and it continues to increase its routes and frequencies.
Moreover, it is set to announce a new service to Durban from Johannesburg next week. Meanwhile, it has been slowly upgrading its fleet of 17 aging Boeing 737-400 aircraft to updated 737-800 models.
While the novel coronavirus outbreak is having a massive shift in the global aviation industry, Conradie claims that it has not had an impact on his firm’s operations as of yet. In fact, FlySafair is expecting capacity to increase by 15 percent this year and is yet to see any negative results on bookings amid the spread of the virus.
Several other airlines have been forced to cut many of their flights by the day due to the drop in demand. Additionally, some carriers have had to suspend services due to governmental policy, such as Kuwait’s recent decision to close its intentional airport.
South Africa currently has 16 active cases. However, with the World Health Organization now classing the outbreak as a pandemic, airlines across South Africa could start to feel the brunt of it. Ultimately, South African Airways will be keeping a close eye due to its existing struggles.
The Competition Commission has recommended that the Competition Tribunal give the green light to a R24bn transaction that will see PepsiCo take over Pioneer Foods, the Commission said in a statement on Monday.
The deal’s benefits are “significant”, the Commission said, while recommending that it be approved subject to conditions including job creation, local investment and a minimum R1.6 billion B-BBEE transaction.
In 2019, New York-headquartered PepsiCo offered R110 per share – a premium of around 56% – to acquire Pioneer Foods, which manufactures brands including Weet-Bix, Sasko, Pro-Nutro and Spekko rice.
Global giant PepsiCo consists of six divisions which manufacture and distribute snacks and beverages that are already available in South Africa including Simba, Nik Naks, Lays, Doritos and Pepsi soft drinks.
According to the Commission, the proposed deal will result in “significant public interest benefit for South Africa”, and is unlikely to result in a substantial prevention of lessening of competition in any relevant markets.
It recommended that the Tribunal approve the merger, subject to several public interest commitments including a moratorium on retrenchments for a certain period, as well as the creation of jobs at the merged entity.
Further recommended conditions include a significant investment in the operations of the merged entity, the agricultural sector and the establishment of an enterprise development fund; as well as a B-BBEE transaction to the value of at least R1.6 billion that will promote a greater spread of ownership and participation by workers and historically disadvantaged South Africans.
By Louisa Hallett for RetailLeader
Staples is acquiring HiTouch Business Services to enhance the customer experience when it comes to technology, product assortment and services capabilities.
Staples is following the lead of rival Office Depot in enhancing its business services.
Staples is acquiring HiTouch Business Services to enhance the customer experience when it comes to technology, product assortment and services capabilities.
“We think Staples can bring tremendous value to HiTouch Business Services in the form of more robust capabilities and the scale that comes with being the industry leader for workplace solutions,” says Sandy Douglas, CEO of Staples.
“The combination of HiTouch’s sales organization and the strength of Staples will allow us to give customers an even higher level of service. We will continue to look for strategic opportunities like this one where we feel we can help create better options for businesses in the marketplace.”
HiTouch Business Services is a company that provides everything a business needs to operate, according to their company description. They will be a part of the Staples Business Advantage delivery organization, as well as supplying an expanded assortment of products and up-to-date e-commerce tools. HiTouch’s marketplace will still serve as its own independent platform.
“For the past 15 years, HiTouch Business Services has served its customers with pride and we look forward to the next chapter with Staples,” says John Frisk, president and CEO of HiTouch Business Services.
“We will continue to support businesses as we always have, but now with enhanced solutions from a best-in-class service provider. Together, we can create a new business model which leverages the size of a company like Staples, with the local touch HiTouch is known for, to create a truly differentiated offering.”
Staples is the world’s largest office solutions provider to date and is headquartered near Boston, with 1 255 stores located across the U.S. and 304 located throughout Canada.
By Andy Braithwaite for OPI.net
France-based Groupe Hamelin has re-entered the Australian school and office supplies market by taking a controlling interest in the Bantex Group.
Bantex went into voluntary administration at the end of 2017 and has been operating under a deed of company arrangement (DOCA) since February after reaching an agreement with its creditors. Hamelin CEO Eric Joan confirmed to OPI that Bantex is no longer under DOCA as the deed fund has now been paid in full following the takeover by Hamelin.
“The company was restructured during the voluntary administration and is now healthy,” said Joan. “The business was run for years with a lack of working capital and too high a cost structure. These problems have now been solved and we are very excited by the opportunity.”
Bantex Australia has been rebranded as Hamelin Brands Pty and will continue to market the well-known Bantex and Quill products in the country. The business is being run by Managing Director Franck Troquay. He was formerly running Hamelin’s operations in Malaysia, but has now relocated to Australia.
Former Bantex Managing Director Michael Stathakis is remaining with the company as Business Development Officer. Commenting on this appointment, Joan disagreed with OPI’s suggestion that Stathakis’ move into this role might be viewed as a temporary one.
“Even independent, Michael has always been part of the Hamelin family and we have known each other for almost 18 years,” said the Hamelin CEO. “The bailout of Bantex by Hamelin is for him the opportunity of a new start. He will bring his energy and market knowledge to a venture where we will bring management, structure and product
innovation. We believe it is a recipe for great success for all of us and Michael is just as excited as we are.”
The acquisition marks a return to the Hamelin fold of Bantex Australia. It sold the company to Australian Office Wholesalers in 2001 as it focused on integrating the Elba and Bantex brands in Europe following their acquisition by Hamelin in 1999.
Hamelin returned to the Australian market when it acquired the Canson brand in 2007, but it sold this business to FILA in 2016. Joan said the group was now “back for good” in Australia as it focused on its core school and office products categories.
Terms of the Bantex Australia deal were not disclosed.