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Swiss defence firm snaps up Brit security outfit Clearswift

RUAG bags its own cyber protection play thing

Swiss aerospace and defence firm RUAG has slurped UK cyber security outfit Clearswift from private equity owner Lyceum Capital, the financial terms of which were not disclosed.

The buy continues a recent trend of aerospace and defence companies investing into cybersecurity armoury, exemplified by Raytheon's acquisition of Websense last year. Defence firms have been particularly interested in cyber security, argueably since Stuxnet showed that malware can have military applications. Of course, there's also the big angle of defending critical infrastructures against hostile attack.

“Combining our expertise in network defence with Clearswift's data loss prevention and gateway solutions we will further boost our efforts to make RUAG Defence one of the leading cyber security specialists," said Dr. Markus A. Zoller, chief exec of the RUAG Defence division, in a canned statement.

Clearswift is expected to bring in more than £23 million in annual revenues thanks to the efforts of its 140 employees this year, according to RUAG.

Lyceum bought Clearswift five years ago from a group of venture capitalists since when it has diversified from email and web gateways towards offering Data Loss Prevention technology as well as tying to revitalise its channel of resellers, service providers and integrators.

Raphael Grunschlag, head of European technology at William Blair, advisors to Clearswift and Lyceum, said in a prepared remark:

“This deal highlights the continued global success of UK-based technology companies. Since the EU referendum, we have seen a resilience in UK and European mid-market M&A in the technology sector, despite the ongoing market volatility. We continue to see the UK as a hub for technology, and demand for UK companies is set to continue into 2017.” ®

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