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Uber to Halt Services in Parts of Belgium

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Uber

Uber will stop its ride-hailing service in most parts of Belgium tomorrow after a court ruling on Wednesday which extends an order given in 2015, banning its p2p (Peer to Peer) UberPop service to also cover professional drivers who provide its ride-hailing service.

Uber told TechCrunch that it is currently closely examining the details of the ruling, in order to arrive at a decision on whether or not to appeal the decision with the country’s Supreme Court.

This also follows a temporary decision to discontinue Uber’s service in Brussels, a decision which was referred to as “exceptional and unprecedented” by the tech giant. The company said that it was merely taking a step to complain about the lack of reform rules which forbid drivers from using smartphones.

After the ruling by the Brussels appeal court, private hire vehicle drivers have been obstructing a major tunnel in the capital of Belgium.

In a statement made concerning Friday’s impending shutdown, the chief of Uber in the country, Laurent Slitsagain criticized the government for not providing a reform which it has been soliciting for, stating that the decision was made depending on regulations which are now outdated as they were written before smartphones.

The company stated that the government has promised a reform but has failed to deliver said reforms for the last seven years.

According to Bloomberg, the shutdown will not be applicable to a small number of drivers who are licensed in the Flemish region of Belgium, and are therefore still permitted to use the application. Uber confirmed that the Appeal Court ruling only applies to drivers with Brussels licenses.

In another statement, Slits stated that the tech giant is hugely concerned about the 2,000 possessors of LVC licenses (rental car with driver licenses) who according to the country chief will lose their ability to generate earnings.

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Merger and Acquisition

MainOne to be Acquired by America’s Equinix in a $320m Deal

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MainOne - Investors King

Nigerian and West African data centre and cable service provider, MainOne is close to being acquired by an American internet company in a deal that is touted to have a value of $320 million.

In a release by Equinix, the $320 million deal is expected to be sealed and signed in the first quarter of 2022, pending the satisfaction of conventional closing conditions, including the required regulatory approvals.

A Public Relations personnel from MainOne confirmed the deal, but stated that he had access to limited information. He was however convinced that the deal would be a total buyout.

MainOne was founded in 2010 by Funke Opeke, a Nigerian. The company has over 1,000 kilometres of reliable terrestrial fibre networks across the southern region of the country, while also owning and operating a subsea network from Nigeria to Portugal (in Europe).

The company also has digital infrastructure assets including three data centres (which are operational) across the western area of Africa. It also has another facility under construction, which is set for a launch in Q1 2022. These facilities have helped the company enable connectivity for Nigeria’s business community.

Equinix, on this background believes that MainOne is one of the most thrilling tech businesses to come out of Africa. Charles Meyers, the CEO and President of Equinix which has its headquarters in California, stated that the acquisition of MainOne would be the first step in the company’s strategy to become a leading African carrier neutral digital infrastructure company in the long term.

Meyers said that MainOne’s leading position in interconnection and its experienced management team are critical assets in Equinix’s bid to become the leading neutral provider of digital infrastructure across Africa.

Meyers noted that the growth in data consumption in Africa is one of the fastest in the whole world, and MainOne’s infrastructure, customer relationships and operating capability will extend Equinix’s reach and boost opportunities for customers based in Africa and other parts of the world.

It was agreed in the deal that all members of the MainOne management team, including the CEO will continue in their respective roles. Equinix will also take on MainOne’s about 500 employees, but it is unclear what will happen to them under the new dispensation.

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Former Dangote Group Truck Driver Sues Company over Injuries Sustained in Accident

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Dangote Cement - Investors King

A truck driver who worked with Dangote Cement, Anas Ibrahim has filed a lawsuit against the company for abandoning him and sacking him after he had sustained serious injuries in an accident that occurred while he was on duty.

Ibrahim was involved in an accident on July 1, 2020 while travelling along the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway when a vehicle ran into the Dangote truck he was driving after he offloaded bags of cement at the company’s depot.

Initially, he was taken to the Sango Otta General Hospital in Ogun state after he lost consciousness. After that, he was transferred to the Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta before he was finally taken to the Mohammed Sunusi Specialist Hospital, Kano where he currently is.

The accident victim stated that he had suffered three broken ribs and had a complex fracture in his limbs, according to FIJ.

Ibrahim, through his lawyer dragged Dangote Cement to the National Industrial Court of Nigeria based in Kano. The complainant told the court that the company had neglected him and also refused to pay his medical bills after they terminated his employment.

Ibrahim sought an order of the court, which would require Dangote to pay him N50 million as compensation, N10 million exemplary damages and N1 million in legal fees.

The Dangote Group Spokesperson, Anthony Chiejina said to the FIJ that he was unable to comment on Ibrahim’s situation because he was still in mourning of Sani Dangote, brother to Aliko Dangote and the Vice President of the company.

Chiejina then said it was unfair for the newspapers to report the sacking and neglect of the truck driver who sustained serious injuries in the line of duty at a time when the company was in mourning. He went ahead to claim that truck drivers working for the company cannot be trusted all the time, although he failed to react to the situation.

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Merger and Acquisition

Nvidia’s Arm Acquisition Now Highly Unlikely to Go Through

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Gartner semiconductor analyst Alan Priestly has said that Nvidia’s planned $40 billion acquisition of United Kingdom Chip Designer Arm is becoming more unlikely to be successful.

Priestly attributed this possible failure to the increasing number of regulatory inquiries which the deal is facing, also making mention of concerns in the United Kingdom, the European Union, the United States of America and China. Priestly said this to CNBC on Wednesday, with both Nvidia and Arm failing to respond immediately to a request for comment by CNBC.

The deal had previously eyed a completion date of March 2022, but the CEO of Nvidia Jensen Huang had admitted in August that the deal may go beyond the anticipated date.

Arm was born out of an old computing company known as Acorn Computers back in 1990. The energy-efficient chips designed by the company are used in about 95% of smartphones around the world and 95% of chips designed in China. The company was bought by Japan-owned SoftBank in 2016 for about 24 billion pounds ($32 billion), authorizes its chip designs to over 500 companies who use these chips when making their own semiconductors.

Critics have concerns that the merger with Nvidia – who is responsible for designing its own chips – could hinder Arm’s semiconductor designs which have been dubbed neutral, and may then lead to increased prices, less available choices and reduced innovation across the industry. Nvidia however argues that the deal will result in more innovation and that Arm will benefit from an increase in investment.

American chip giant Broadcom has publicly shown support for the deal, but many others remain against it.

Qualcomm has stated that Nvidia could proceed to limit the supply of Arm’s technology to competitors, or even raise prices. Bloomberg reports that Google and Microsoft have raised similar concerns with regulators.

The United Kingdom announced back in November that it would be launching a full investigation into the takeover of Arm by Nvidia, with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigating antitrust concerns and national security issues over the period of 24 weeks.

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