9 August 2019 Staff Reporter Ventureburn

SA’s Competition Commission yesterday said it had approved the proposed merger whereby Vodacom intends to acquire IoT.nxt. The acquisition has been approved subject to certain conditions.

The telecoms giant announced in May that it had reached an agreement to acquire a 51% stake in SA Internet of Things (IoT) startup IoT.nxt.

While neither Vodacom or IoT.nxt have disclosed the amount the telco paid to acquire a majority stake in the startup, it’s likely to be in the hundreds of millions of rands.

The Pretoria-based startup, which was founded in 2015 by CEO Nico Steyn, Terje Moen and Bertus Jacobs, focuses on delivering innovative IoT software and hardware solutions.

The Competition Commission has approved Vodacom’s acquisition of IoT.nxt with conditions.

In a statement the commission said it had found that Vodacom may have the incentive to bundle their offerings of voice, data and IoT services post-merger to the exclusion of non-vertically integrated rivals.

“This concern was also raised by other market participants whom the commission engaged with during its investigation,” the commission added.

To address these concerns, the commission and the merging parties have agreed to a remedy which will ensure that:

(i) IoT.nxt’s products and services will continue to be made available to all customers on non-discriminatory terms post-merger. Specifically, IoT.nxt will not supply its products and services exclusively to Vodacom post-merger.

(ii) IoT.nxt’s customers will not be required to procure connectivity services from Vodacom when procuring gateways, edge platforms and/or cloud orchestration products and services from IoT.nxt post-merger.

The commission further found that the proposed transaction does not raise any public interest concerns.

Read more: Competition Commission Conditions.


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