Each week, Army Technology, Airforce Technology and Naval Technology’s editors select a deal that illustrates the themes driving change in our sector. The deal may not always be the largest in value, or the highest profile. But we select it because of what it tells us about where the leading companies are focusing their efforts, and why. We pick apart the deal itself, and the industry theme behind it. This new, thematic deal coverage is driven by our underlying Disruptor data which tracks all major deals, patents, company filings, hiring patterns and social media buzz across our sectors.

Thales, a pan-European defence supplier, has acquired Imperva, an American data and application cybersecurity company, from Thoma Bravo in a $3.6bn (€3.2bn) deal announced on 25 July 2023.

Imperva will enable growth in data security, generating more than €2.4bn as well as Thales’s entry into the application security market, a sector the acquirer claims has growing attraction.

“With this acquisition, we are seizing a unique opportunity to accelerate our cybersecurity capabilities and are taking an important step toward our ambition to build a world-class global cybersecurity integrated player, providing a comprehensive portfolio of products and services,” Patrice Cain, Chairman and CEO of Thales, stated.

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GlobalData intelligence tells us that Imperva’s product portfolio includes application security, data security, network security, cloud native security and security automation products. Its application security products comprise of web application firewall, web application firewall, advanced bot protection, client-side protection, runtime protection, ddos protection and API security.

It offers services such as professional services, technical support, and training. It provides products and services to government, healthcare, financial services, telecom and retail. The company operates in the US, Mexico, Canada, China, India, Japan, Singapore Taiwan, and Europe, among others. Imperva is headquartered in San Mateo, California and comprises 1,200 employees.

The acquisition is the latest purchase Thales has made in the past two months, these include Cobham Aerospace Communications announced on 12 July and Tesserent on 13 June, which is similarly one of Australia and New Zealand’s largest cybersecurity companies.

Cybersecurity in aerospace and defence

According to GlobalData’s thematic intelligence report on ‘Cybersecurity’ (2023), global cybercrime will reach $10.5tn annually by 2025. Tackling this issue requires investment, and GlobalData forecasts that cybersecurity revenues will reach $344bn worldwide by 2030.

Given the growing array of sensors and other data streams that are a pre-requisite for operating in the modern battlespace, there is an increasing number of devices that need to be cyber secure.

Thales has already begun to tap into this market right off the back of its acquisition of Imperva. On 26 July, the defence supplier announced it will help the French Armed Forces to communicate, design and innovate more efficiently on projects involving sensitive information classified at ‘Restricted Distribution’ (RD) level in the French official classification system.

Thales’ ‘TrustNest R-Suite’, the first RD-certified suite of as-a-service applications, is now available to French software editors, providing unprecedented capabilities at this level of security and compliance. It brings to its final users the benefits of the cloud and access to a set of high-performance professional applications. TrustNest R-Cloud provides a shared infrastructure for customers, while guaranteeing sovereignty and a high level of application security.

State-sponsored cyberattacks are likely to increase in 2023. The Russian invasion of Ukraine, a continuing trade war between the US and China, and high-profile elections are all catalysts for state-sponsored attacks.

Cybersecurity represents a priority market for Thales. It is both a critical enabler for its other activities and a long-term fast-growing and technology-driven market where Thales can bring unique know-how. As a global leader in cybersecurity, Thales is involved at every level of the cyber value chain: Identity, Protect, Detect, Respond, Recover.