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F5 Acquires NGINX To Bridge Netops & Devops, Providing Customers With Consistent Application Services Across Every Environment

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F5 Networks, Inc. and NGINX announced a definitive agreement under which F5 will acquire all issued and outstanding shares of privately held NGINX for a total enterprise value of approximately $670 million, subject to certain adjustments.

“F5’s acquisition of NGINX strengthens our growth trajectory by accelerating our software and multi-cloud transformation,” said François Locoh-Donou, President & CEO of F5. “By bringing F5’s world-class application security and rich application services portfolio for improving performance, availability, and management together with NGINX’s leading software application delivery and API management solutions, unparalleled credibility and brand recognition in the DevOps community, and massive open source user base, we bridge the divide between NetOps and DevOps with consistent application services across an enterprise’s multi-cloud environment.”

“We believe every organization can benefit from the agility and flexibility enabled by modern technologies without compromising on security, manageability, and reliability,” continued Locoh-Donou. “The combined company will enable every customer—from the app developer to the network engineer to the security specialist—with the tools they need to ensure their apps are available and secure across every platform, from the enterprise data center to private and public clouds.”

F5 will enhance NGINX’s current offerings with F5 security solutions and will integrate F5 cloud-native innovations with NGINX’s software load balancing technology, accelerating F5’s time to market of application services for modern, containerized applications. F5 will also leverage its global sales force, channel infrastructure, and partner ecosystem to scale NGINX selling opportunities to the enterprise.

“NGINX and F5 share the same mission and vision. We both believe applications are at the heart of driving digital transformation. And we both believe that an end-to-end application infrastructure—one that spans from code to customer—is needed to deliver apps across a multi-cloud environment,” said Gus Robertson, CEO of NGINX, Inc.“I’m excited to continue this journey by adding the power of NGINX’s open source innovation to F5’s ADC leadership and enterprise reach. F5 gains depth with solutions designed for DevOps, while NGINX gains breadth with access to tens of thousands of customers and partners.”

NGINX’s thriving open source community was one of the most attractive elements of this combination, and F5 recognizes the trust that the user community has in NGINX’s technology. Open source is a core part of F5’s multi-cloud strategy and a driver for F5’s next phase of innovation. As such, F5 is committed to continued innovation and increasing investment in the NGINX open source project to empower NGINX’s widespread user communities. F5 expects the combination with NGINX will accelerate its product integrations with leading open source projects and will enhance its strong technology partnerships with open source vendors.

Upon closing of the acquisition, F5 will maintain the NGINX brand. Gus Robertson, along with NGINX founders Igor Sysoev and Maxim Konovalov, will join F5 and will continue to lead NGINX. Robertson will join F5’s senior management team, reporting to François Locoh-Donou. F5 will maintain NGINX’s operations in San Francisco, California and other locations globally.

Transaction Details

The acquisition of NGINX is expected to increase F5’s software revenue growth and increase the Company’s software revenue mix in fiscal year 2019. It secures F5’s Horizon 2 (fiscal year 2021 to fiscal year 2022) objectives of mid-to-high single-digit revenue and double-digit non-GAAP earnings per share growth. Short-term, the Company expects that the acquisition and organic investment in new and emerging solutions will result in modest earnings dilution in fiscal years 2019 and 2020.

F5 provided the following regarding its Horizon 1 (fiscal year 2019 to fiscal year 2020) outlook, following the completion of the NGINX acquisition:

  Analyst and Investor Meeting
Horizon1 (FY19-FY20) Outlook, March 2018
Post-NGINX Acquisition
Horizon1 (FY19-FY20) Guidance
Total Revenue Growth Low-to-mid single-digit growth Mid single-digit growth
Software1 Revenue Growth 30%-35%+ growth 35%-40%+ growth
Software1 as a % of Product Revenue Mid 20s% 25%-30%
Non-GAAP Gross Margin ~85% ~85%
Non-GAAP Operating Margin 35%-37% 33%-35%
Non-GAAP EPS Mid-to-high single-digit growth Low single-digit growth

1 Software includes standalone Virtual Editions, including subscriptions & utility, and as a Service offerings

All forward-looking non-GAAP measures included in the outlook exclude estimates for amortization of intangible assets, share-based compensation expenses, significant effects of tax legislation and judicial or administrative interpretation of tax regulations, including the impact of income tax reform, non-recurring income tax adjustments, valuation allowance on deferred tax assets, and the income tax effect of non-GAAP exclusions, and do not include the impact of any restructuring charges, facility exit costs, or other non-recurring charges that may occur in the period. F5 is unable to provide a reconciliation of non-GAAP guidance measures to corresponding U.S. generally accepted accounting principles or GAAP measures on a forward-looking basis without unreasonable effort due to the overall high variability and low visibility of most of the foregoing items that have been excluded. Material changes to any one of these items could have a significant effect on our guidance and future GAAP results. Certain exclusions, such as amortization of intangible assets and share-based compensation expenses, are generally incurred each quarter, but the amounts have historically varied and may continue to vary significantly from quarter to quarter.

F5 intends to fund the transaction through cash on its balance sheet. In conjunction with the transaction, the Company is suspending its common stock share repurchase program. The Company will continue to evaluate market conditions and other factors including F5’s capital requirements in determining when and whether to continue such program and the levels of such program. The program does not require the purchase of any minimum number of shares and the program may be modified, suspended, or discontinued at any time.

The acquisition has been approved by the boards of directors of both F5 and NGINX and, following execution of the definitive agreement, received the requisite shareholder approval of NGINX. It is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the second calendar quarter of 2019.

Foros acted as financial advisor and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati provided legal counsel to F5 on this transaction. Qatalyst Partners served as financial advisor to NGINX.

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Enterprise News

Tata Tele business service hosts a Successful discussion with CXOs for resilience & business growth in Post COVID world

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Tata Tele Business Services (TTBS), hosted CXO Round Table Discussion with industry leaders on building a new mindset for business resilience and growth. The discussion centered around Respond, Reboot and Reinvent as key imperatives; with large Enterprises reinventing their business models as they continue to respond effectively to the aftershocks of the crisis.

 While the potential requirement for many organizations is to build digital competency, the larger goal is to be data-driven and leveraging the cloud capabilities. Moreover, witnessing variable cost structures, agile operations, and automation which could create stronger capabilities with digital presence and security.

According to an IDC report, ‘By 2022, 70% of all organizations will have accelerated use of digital technologies, transforming existing business processes to drive customer engagement, employee productivity, and business resiliency.’

Industry representatives such asUpkar Singh, Director IT, Fidelity Information Services India Ltd., Raj Neravathi – Head of Technology, Titan, Yogesh Kothari – Sr. Vice President, Quatrro Business Support Solutions shared their expertise upon business agility, examples from their professional career and how they are successfully driving the digital transformation journey for their organization.

Addressing the session, Mr. Shibhu Davies, Sales Head – North and East, Tata Communications Ltd. said, “There is a plethora of technology available in the market, understanding the most suitable one for a particular business is the key factor. To thrive in the next normal, companies must be data driven to make critical and timely decisions. While there is an uptick in the businesses investing in data and nimble technologies like cloud and AI, many are still struggling to maintain momentum. Businesses need to get out of cultural obstacles, address data privacy and governance challenges to enhance their degree of business transformation.” 

Elaborating further on increasing adoption of Cloud communication, Mr. Shibhu Davies explained, “Cloud Communication suite like Smartflo being offered by Tata Teleservices are inherently designed for a digital or hybrid environment and is well-equipped to deal with the growing overlap between digital technology and enterprise operations. Besides enhanced efficiency and operational flexibility, it offers more robust security to your business with a pre-configured unified threat management system.”

Mr. Upkar Singh, Director IT, Fidelity Information Services India Ltd said “Covid has created an unprecedented impact across all regions – organizations that are flexible both from technology and operational perspective have been able to RESPOND in time, REBOOT their functions and are now REINVENTING result oriented approach”

Mr. Raj Neravathi – Head of Technology, Titan said, “During times of catastrophes, leadership plays a very important role in adoption to change. Composure, calmness, honoring and supporting every internal and external stakeholder through thick and thin helps revive business and defines leadership by example.” 

Mr. Yogesh Kothari – Sr Vice President, Quatrro Business Support Solutions said, “Challenges that enterprises are facing in the current times is resistance to change. There is a lack of vision for creating a digital journey for the customer and technology know how for their business” 

Highlights of discussion: 

Challenges in Technology Adoption 

The key challenges faced by enterprises for adopting new technologies extend both towards the changing customer experience along with employee pushback. Merely purchasing and implementing a solution in response to a localized issue does not equate to technology adoption and agility. Organizations are considering two key points, recognizing and responding to the shifting trends in consumer behavior and avoiding the initiatives that target specific issues.

The post-covid world has led to unexpectedly increased customer readiness towards trying new channels for interacting with businesses. 

Organizations adopting to technology, lead to driving changes strategically through an ongoing process where being receptive to changing consumer trends helps in the formulation of effective roadmaps. These roadmaps can then be used to build better value propositions by leveraging the right technological advancements, leading to business growth and benefits.

Role of Leadership In Bringing Organizational Change

Leadership plays a very critical role while dealing with catastrophes. From healthcare solutions to virtual classrooms, from facilitating remote work and learning, from re-imagining online business models and digital revenue lines, to stepping up the cyber security, organizations are working on new challenges.

The pandemic has accelerated transformation multifariously for businesses in India. Organizations are re-imagining their business models, relooking at talent management strategies, and fast-tracking digitalization efforts to be more resilient to disruption. 

Organizations are simplifying and enhancing their IT landscape, architecting systems for integration, balancing operational and capital expenses using the cloud. Investments are being made towards intelligent systems that provide incremental learning abilities. 

Technology Investments for a Digital Future

Over the last couple of months, it has become increasingly evident that digital adoption is not negotiable. Having the right technology to power up digital strategies is fundamental in today’s business world. It is a business requirement without which organizations are not able to grow in a rapidly evolving market landscape.

A good business continuity solution that delivers digital workspaces to access critical applications, have accelerated the performance of organizational applications on remote connections. With right platform and solutions clubbed with excessive trainings, organizations have managed to continue with their operations without major loss in productivity or efficiency.

Digital technologies have caused a shift in customer expectations, resulting in a new kind of modern buyer. Today’s consumers are constantly connected and aware of what they can do with technology. Bringing the employees up to speed to cater to the new age customers has been one of the key form of investments for various organizations. 

Respond, Reboot and Reinvent – The New Mindset for Growth

Organizations have taken immediate actions focused on keeping people safe and essential business functions operating. This has been relatively marked with high effort and possibly chaotic activity.

Organizations are adopting to the wholistic approach, recognizing evolving customer demand, channels of information consumption, building continued incremental intelligence including technology that provides agility. Agile decision making and strategy setting by enterprises have outsized performance and established a lead over the competition that sustains long after the initial disruption. By reinventing themselves, organizations have learnt to conduct operational processes and workflows in new, repeatable, and scalable ways.

Key Takeaways

  • Gaining New perspectives, relooking at business models and embracing new models of harnessing technology have become business priorities.  
  • Reinvent on an ongoing basis to build an agile, adaptive & resilient enterprise for a sustainable future. 
  • Uninterrupted connectivity between all stakeholders, internally within employees and externally with customers and vendors across platforms and touch points is of critical importance.

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Networking

Bharti Airtel Announces 5G Ready Network

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In a major landmark, Bharti Airtel (“Airtel”) announced that it has become the country’s first telco to successfully demonstrate & orchestrate LIVE 5G service over a commercial network in Hyderabad city.

Airtel did this over its existing liberalised spectrum in the 1800 MHz band through the NSA (Non Stand Alone) network technology. Using a first of its kind, dynamic spectrum sharing, Airtel seamlessly operated 5G and 4G concurrently within the same spectrum block. This demonstration has emphatically validated the 5G readiness of Airtel’s network across all domains – Radio, Core and Transport. 

Airtel 5G is capable of delivering 10x speeds, 10x latency and 100x concurrency when compared to existing technologies. Specifically, in Hyderabad, users were able to download a full length movie in a matter of seconds on a 5G phone. This demonstration has underlined the company’s technology capabilities. The full impact of the 5G experience, however, will be available to our customers, when adequate spectrum is available and government approvals received.

Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO, Bharti Airtel said: “I am very proud of our engineers who have worked tirelessly to showcase this incredible capability in Tech City, Hyderabad today. Every one of our investments is future proofed as this game changing test in Hyderabad proves. With Airtel being the first operator to demonstrate this capability, we have shown again that we have always been the first in India to pioneer new technologies in our quest for empowering Indians everywhere.” 

“We believe India has the potential to become a global hub for 5G innovation. To make that happen we need the eco system to come together – applications, devices and network innovation. We are more than ready to do our bit.” added Gopal Vittal.                  

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Networking

Airtel Xstream Fiber Rolls Out Gigabit Wi-Fi Experience

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Bharti Airtel (“Airtel”) has kicked off the New Year with some exciting news for customers with the launch of hyper-fast Wi-Fi experience. 

Airtel Xstream Fiber customers can now enjoy 1 Gbps data speeds over Wi-Fi and no longer have to be constrained by a dedicated LAN cable. The Airtel Xstream Fiber Rs 3999 plan now comes with a complimentary 1 Gbps Wi-Fi router to go with unlimited data quota and massive bundled content.  

The highly advanced 4×4 Wi-Fi router, will enable seamless 1 Gbps Wi-Fi coverage across Homes and Small Offices. This will unlock a great experience for online gaming and animation and for work or study from home with large number of concurrently connected devices. Small Offices will be able to deploy multiple high speed connections for applications such as stock trading and online collaboration that requires reliable high speed connectivity with zero downtime.      

Says Vir Inder Nath, CEO – Homes, Bharti Airtel: “Reliable high speed connectivity is a lifeline in today’s digital first world and Airtel is proud to be at the forefront of India’s broadband revolution. A key ask from our customers was liberation from the LAN cable to enjoy the 1Gbps experience and we are delighted to make that happen.”        

Airtel Xstream Fiber’s 1 Gbps broadband plan at Rs 3999 also comes with a complimentary Airtel Xstream Box that offers 550 TV channels and OTT content from the Airtel Xstream app library that includes over 10,000 movies & shows aggregated across 7 OTT apps and 5 studios. It offers subscription to premier video streaming apps such as Amazon Prime Video and ZEE5, all accessible through the Airtel Xstream Box.

Airtel is India’s largest private sector broadband service provider with presence in over 150 cities. 

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