Raytheon to pour $1.7 billion into cybersecurity joint venture

Raytheon is expected to announce plans to acquire Websense in order to bring government security solutions into the enterprise.

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Raytheon is planning to acquire network security firm Websense to create a stand-alone business which will bring government security services into the corporate realm.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Raytheon will announced the formation of a new joint venture on Monday. It is reported that Raytheon will take full control of Websense from private equity firm Vista Partners, which took Austin, Texas-based Websense private in 2013. Websense will form the core of the new business.

Under the terms of the deal, Raytheon will invest $965 million in cash into the joint venture as well as $400 million in "existing cyber assets," according to the publication. In addition, Raytheon will provide a $600 million loan to clear existing debt.

Vista Partners, which will retain a 20 percent stake in the joint venture, is also expected to invest $335 million into the venture.

Websense provides security solutions to the enterprise, designed to stop data breaches, intellectual property theft and enforce security compliance and best practices. The firm's most well-known security solution is the cloud-based Websense TRITON APX system. Websense caters for over 20,000 corporate clients internationally.

It is hoped the joint venture will provide a bridge between government and military cybersecurity solutions and the commercial sector. Raytheon has a long-standing relationship with the US Pentagon, but government officials are often not keen on contractors moving technology between their industry and the enterprise -- and in addition, salespeople used to working with the US Defense Department can find the transition to corporate sales a difficult task.

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The WSJ says unnamed Raytheon officials believe the new JV will address these issues. Raytheon has the Pentagon contacts -- while Websense has a pool of experienced commercial sales staff.

This is not the only recent cybersecurity acquisition Raytheon has pursued. In November last year, the company acquired Blackbird Technologies for $420 million. Blackbird focuses on security solutions for the intelligence community, including the US Defense Department's Special Operations Command unit.

Waltham, Mass.-based Raytheon specializes in defense and security solutions, with clients worldwide. The company generated $23 billion in sales over 2014. Last week, Raytheon revealed the company has been awarded a contract worth over $2 billion to develop and deliver the Patriot Air and Missile Defense System to an undisclosed international customer.

Raytheon accounts for 61,000 employees worldwide.

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