French defence and technology group Thales announced on Tuesday that it has agreed to buy U.S. cybersecurity company Imperva for $3.6 billion in cash, as it seeks to expand its digital identity and security (DIS) division and tap into the growing demand for protection against cyber threats.
Imperva, which is owned by private equity firm Thomas Bravo, provides cloud-based solutions to protect websites, applications and data from cyberattacks, serving more than 7,000 customers worldwide, including some of the largest U.S. companies.
Thales said the acquisition would strengthen its position in the fast-growing cloud security market and enhance its capabilities in data protection, application security and identity management. It also said the deal would create significant synergies, both in terms of cost savings and revenue opportunities, and boost its earnings per share in the medium term.
The price of the deal implies an enterprise value of 17 times Imperva’s expected operating earnings in 2024, Thales said, adding that it would finance the transaction with existing cash resources and new debt.
The deal is expected to close in 2024, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary conditions. Thales said it did not anticipate any major obstacles to the completion of the deal.
Thales CEO Patrice Caine said the acquisition was a “major strategic step” for the group, as it aims to become a global leader in digital security and accelerate its growth outside its core defence business.
“This acquisition will enable us to offer our customers a comprehensive portfolio of solutions to protect their digital assets, from the edge to the cloud, and to address the most critical cybersecurity challenges of today and tomorrow,” he said in a statement.
Imperva CEO Pam Murphy said joining forces with Thales would create “a powerful combination” that would benefit both customers and employees.
“We are excited to become part of Thales, a global leader in digital security, and to leverage its scale, expertise and innovation capabilities to bring our cloud-native solutions to more customers around the world,” she said.
The deal is Thales’ largest acquisition since it bought Dutch digital identity company Gemalto in 2019 for $5.6 billion, which marked the group’s shift towards digital security and away from civil aerospace activities.
Thales said the combined DIS division, which includes Gemalto and Imperva, would have proforma revenues of 4.5 billion euros ($5.1 billion) in 2024, rising to 5.4-5.5 billion euros ($6.1-6.2 billion) in 2027.
The group also reaffirmed its financial targets for 2021 and 2023, including an organic revenue growth of 7-8% per year and an operating margin of 11.5-12% by 2023.
Morgan Stanley and Centerview Partners acted as financial advisers to Thales on the deal.