Ambient's platform features hardware and software that allows utilities to run multiple smart grids in parallel, and to do so using a variety of telecom technologies (inc. cellular and Wi-Fi, which Ericsson has plenty of experience with).
Ambient also has a sizable smart grid patent portfolio, and offers various consulting/installation services. Ericsson client Verizon is a mobile network partner. Silver Spring (SSNI -4.7%) is among Ambient's rivals.
Ericsson (ERIC -0.6%) has bought a majority stake in Apcera, provider of an enterprise cloud app development platform (PaaS) that tries to differentiate itself through a focus on security/policy controls. Terms are undisclosed.
Apcera, which faces competition from Microsoft, Amazon, Salesforce, Google, and several other prominent rivals, will continue to be run independently. Its PaaS platform supports public, private, and hybrid cloud deployments.
Ericsson predicts integrating Apcera's offerings with its existing cloud management software/services will allow it to provide carriers and enterprises with "complete cloud automation to run all workloads and use cases, while providing complete control for infrastructure."
The mobile infrastructure giant hasn't been shy about using M&A to increase its software and services exposure.
Ericsson (ERIC +4.3%) has acquired femtocell base station developer Airvana's 3G EV-DO ops in an all-stock deal. (PR)
Though Ericsson notes Airvana supplies it with EV-DO software and states the deal will help it support carriers who have deployed EV-DO (e.g. Verizon, Sprint, KDDI - they're now mostly investing in 4G), the company's main goal appears to have been the dismissal of a $330M suit filed by Airvana against Ericsson, in which the former alleged the latter conspired with LG to sell Airvana hardware without including (royalty-bearing) software.
Separately, Ericsson has announced a 4G infrastructure deal with Telefonica's Spanish unit. Ericsson will be the supplier for 1K of the 2.2K 4G nodes Telefonica plans to deploy in 2013, including the ones for Madrid and Barcelona. Alcatel-Lucent announced a Spanish 4G deal with Telefonica yesterday.
Altogether, Ericsson says it has scored 160+ 4G deals worldwide. Earlier this year, research firm TBR observed Ericsson "took a commanding lead" of the 4G infrastructure market in 2012 thanks to North American, Japanese, and South Korean deal traction. It forecast Ericsson would maintain the pole position in 2013, but added rivals are set to gain share.
Ericsson (ERIC) and Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) jump sharply following news that Nokia (NOK) is selling its handset unit to Microsoft, leaving the Finnish company to focus on its telecom-equipment division NSN, among other things. Could industry consolidation be on the cards?
As SA auther Jacob Steinberg notes, the deal will leave Nokia with a cash mountain of almost $20B. That would theoretically be more than enough to buy Alcatel-Lucent, whose market cap is just $5.86B.
Ericsson is +3.9% in Stockholm and ALU is +11.2% premarket in the U.S.
Ericsson (ERIC +1.3%) grows its services exposure by acquiring Red Bee Media, a 1.5K-employee provider of media/content services based out of the U.K. Ericsson asserts Red Bee, whose services include production, marketing, syndication, and much else, strengthens a broadcast services unit expanded last year via the Technicolor deal, and (given huge mobile video growth) also brings mobile synergies. The purchase comes 2 months after Ericsson struck a deal to buy Microsoft's Mediaroom IPTV platform unit, and 8 months after Ericsson forecast stronger CAGRs for telecom services and support solutions than for telecom equipment. Deal terms are undisclosed.
ST-Ericsson (STM, ERIC) manages to sell its mobile connectivity/GPS chip business/IP to an unnamed "leading semiconductor company" for an undisclosed price. That allows the JV, whose baseband processor ops have posted huge losses, to save a bit of face as it winds down following a failure to secure a buyer for the entire unit. STM +2.6% and ERIC +4.3% as European equities rally.
Ericsson (ERIC +1.1%) has sold its power cable unit, which had 2012 sales of SEK1.5B ($231M), to Demark's NKT Cables for SEK250M ($38.5M). Also, the mobile infrastructure giant says it expects tough price competition in China as 4G buildouts get underway. China's 3 carriers plan to spend $56B this year on capex, and China Mobile (CHL - the world's biggest carrier) plans to increase capex by 49% to ~$31B. $6.75B of that will be used to set up 200K base stations for CHL's nascent 4G TD-LTE network - Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) should get a portion of it.
The price tag for Ericsson's (ERIC +1.1%) purchase of Microsoft's (MSFT -0.6%) Mediaroom IPTV unit is in between the $99M Ericsson paid for network management software firm Optimi and the $234M it paid for a majority stake in the LG Nortel JV, says a company exec. Analyst Alexander Peterc points out Mediaroom complements the video assets Ericsson acquired from Tandberg. Meanwhile, chairman Leaf Johansson is striking a positive tone about 2013 mobile infrastructure demand. "I am a little more optimistic on the U.S ... Perhaps Europe too has stabilized."
Microsoft (MSFT) unloads its Mediaroom IPTV infrastructure platform business to Ericsson (ERIC) for an undisclosed sum; Bloomberg reported about this deal a couple weeks ago. Ericsson claims the deal will give it a 25%+ share of the IPTV/multi-screen infrastructure market, and points out the global IPTV subscriber base is expected to grow to 105M in 2015 from 76M in 2013. In a blog post, Microsoft says it will now dedicate all its TV resources to the Xbox. The remarks come as The Verge reports the next-gen Xbox will be revealed at a May 21 event.
Though Cisco (CSCO) insists it has no intention of entering the traditional base station market (citing commoditization), its acquisition of small cell base station vendor Ubiquisys makes it more of a mobile infrastructure rival to Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) and Ericsson (ERIC) than ever. The combination of Ubiquisys' 3G/4G small cell solutions and Cisco's Wi-Fi hardware should eventually give it an end-to-end offering to take on market leader ALU's lightRadio line. Cisco is also pushing its new Quantum software suite (the result of the BroadHop/Cariden/Intucell deals) to mobile carriers.
STMicroelectronics (STM -1.5%) and Ericsson (ERIC +2.5%) head in opposite directions after the WSJ reports JPMorgan has been hired to explore options for the baseband chip JV - a French paper reported the same in October. STM has already said it wants to exit the 50/50 JV, which is struggling to compete with Qualcomm, MediaTek, and others, by the end of Q3. Ericsson recently said it will take a $1.22B charge on ST-Ericsson for Q4, while adding it doesn't intend to buy STM's stake.
Cisco (CSCO) is open to making additional wireless-focused acquisitions to "fill gaps" in its portfolio, says marketing exec Murali Nemani, but it has no interest in making a larger acquisition to compete head-on with the likes of Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent in the traditional base station market. Nemani adds Cisco views the market as "a slow-growing, highly commoditized space." Instead, Cisco wants to focus on the budding small cell market, via integrated solutions that feature its Wi-Fi hardware, management software, and ASR 5000 routers.
Juniper (JNPR +4.3%) gives back the majority of its early gains as analysts prove skeptical that EMC would consider buying the company, as is suggested by a rumor. Cantor, UBS, Goldman, and Oppenheimer all consider an EMC-Juniper unlikely, though Oppenehimer thinks Ericsson or a P-E firm could be interested. Also, a source tells Reuters Juniper hasn't hired an i-bank to facilitate a purchase, contradicting the rumor.
STMicroelectronics (STM +8.2%) is thinking of breaking itself up, sources tell Bloomberg. The company's analog chip business could be split up from its digital chip business, which is heavily exposed to the soft TV and set-top box markets, and mobile baseband chip JV ST-Ericsson, reported this week to be exploring "strategic options," might be sold. Samsung, which has been increasing its mobile chip exposure, is named as a potential buyer for struggling ST-Ericsson.