French giant to acquire Australia’s largest listed cybersecurity firm

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Melbourne-based cybersecurity firm Tesserent has agreed to be acquired by French multinational Thales, in a $176 million share scheme recommended unanimously by the Tesserent board on Tuesday.

The deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, values Australia’s largest listed cybersecurity company at $0.13 a share, which Thales said represented a 165.3 per cent premium to the closing price of Tesserent on June 9.

After the aquisition, Tesserent will be marketed as Thales’ primary cybersecurity offering in Australia.Credit: Bloomberg

“Tesserent’s customers are expected to benefit from Thales’ enhanced product suite, global service capabilities and the acceleration of Tesserent’s existing growth and customer service strategy,” said Tesserant chairman Geoff Lord.

“The share scheme represents a significant premium to Tesserent’s recent share price, reflects an enterprise value of $232 million, delivers certainty of value and provides opportunity for shareholders to realise their investment in full for cash.”

The Australian company, which provides cybersecurity solutions to more than 1200 mid-sized government, enterprise and critical infrastructure clients, will continue to be known as Tesserent. However, after the deal its visual identity will carry the tagline “cyber solutions by Thales”.

“Tesserent represents a highly complementary addition to our global cybersecurity platform,” said Thales Australia chief executive Jeff Connolly.

“We are excited by the combination, especially given our collective alignment to advising multiple levels of government, including national defence and clients with critical infrastructure.”

Partially owned by the French state, Thales offers services in digital identity, security, aerospace and transportation, with 77,000 employees in 68 countries. It is also one of the world’s largest defence contractors, working closely with the Australian Defence Force. In 2022, Thales generated global sales worth about $28 billion.

The proposed aquisition comes after a period of increasingly visible cybercrime activity against Australian enterprises – including Medibank, Optus and Latitude in the last year – as well as increasing concern about potential attacks on Australian infrastructure and governments.

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