CIO SA Tech news roundup: Elon Musk makes another bid for Twitter, Google to establish a cloud data centre in South Africa, Rain offers itself up to Telkom, and Talk360 secures seed funding


Elon Musk still interested in buying Twitter

Tesla founder Elon Musk, has written to Twitter to say that if their court battle is resolved “immediately”, he will honour the original $44 billion (R780 billion) deal.

The letter, sent late Monday by Musk lawyer Mike Ringler at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, and filed confidentially the next day with the Delaware Court of Chancery, is a straightforward renewal of Musk’s April agreement to take Twitter private at $54.20 (R957) per share. Twitter lawyers are reviewing the letter, and the deal appears to be on track to be approved.

“We received the letter from the Musk parties which they have filed with the SEC,” a spokesperson for Twitter said. “The intention of the company is to close the transaction at $54.20 per share.”

Google to establish cloud data centre region in South Africa

Google has announced its intention to establish its first Google Cloud region in South Africa. The announcement, made at the second Google for Africa event, is the latest example of how Google is following through on CEO Sundar Pichai’s $1 billion (R18 billion) investment commitment made last year.

The new cloud region will assist users, developers, businesses, and educational institutions across Africa in moving more information and tools online, improving customer access options, and creating jobs.

According to research commissioned by Google Cloud by AlphaBeta Economics, the South African cloud region will contribute more than $2.1 billion (R37 billion) to the country’s GDP and will support the creation of more than 40,000 jobs by 2030.

“We believe in growing an open and healthy ecosystem of technology solutions to support Africa’s digital transformation goals, which leads to more opportunities for businesses,” said Nirai Patel, director of Google Cloud Africa. “It is part of our company-wide ethos to respect the environment, which is why we operate the cleanest cloud in the industry, supporting sustainable digital transformation,” he added.

Google also intends to expand its network through the Equiano subsea cable and to construct dedicated cloud interconnection sites in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Lagos, and Nairobi. Google says that by doing so, they are developing full-scale cloud capability for Africa.

Rain wants Telkom to acquire it

South African operator Rain has requested that rival Telkom acquire it, putting MTN’s plans to acquire Telkom in jeopardy. The announcement comes as MTN is in talks to buy Telkom in order to compete with market leader Vodacom.

According to Reuters, Telkom received a non-binding proposal from Rain to acquire it in exchange for new Telkom shares.

Telkom’s board of directors is currently reviewing the proposal. MTN said in a statement that it had received a letter from Telkom on the subject and would issue a statement “setting out its position” in relation to its own potential transaction with Telkom.

Talk360 secures R53 million in seed funding

Talk360, which allows people all over the world to call any landline or mobile phone in the world, has raised an additional $3 million (R53 million) in seed funding. Following its first closing in May, this brings its total seed round to $7 million (R124 million).

The funds, according to the international calling app, will help the company grow its market share in South Africa, drive its growth across the continent, and launch its Pan-African payment platform in 2023.

Talk360 notes that in the last year, it has seen 167 percent growth in customers and 130 percent revenue growth, as well as nearly doubling the number of calling minutes to and from South Africa, thanks to a “significantly improved” distribution network.

Talk360 was co-founded in 2016 by Dean Hiine, a South African venture builder, and Dutch entrepreneurs Hans Osnabrugge and Jorne Schamp.

“Our mission is to bridge distance and connect lives by offering reliable, affordable and easy-to-use digital services, delivered in a localised manner to all communities, particularly emerging countries, so they can connect to the world,” says Dean.

“But we’re not just solving socio-economic issues: we’re also offering micro-entrepreneurship and income-generating opportunities to our growing network of agents across the country.”

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