Security vendor Gemalto to acquire SafeNet for $890M

The deal would combine security tools from the core to the edge of enterprise systems

Gemalto plans to acquire SafeNet for US$890 million in a deal that would combine a big vendor of portable secure elements such as payment cards with a provider of enterprise data protection technology.

Based in Amsterdam, Gemalto develops objects such as employee ID cards, electronic passports and SIM (subscriber identity management) cards and the software to manage them. Gemalto expects SafeNet's information security systems, which work at the core of enterprises' networks, to complement its own products. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter, pending regulatory approval.

SafeNet is based in Belcamp, Maryland, and specializes in cryptographic data protection products including key management systems, authentication servers and authentication as a service. It has about 550 cryptographic engineers in a workforce of about 1,500, according to Gemalto. SafeNet says its technology protects more than 80 percent of all intra-bank fund transfers, and it counts Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard and Netflix among its customers.

Gemalto's secure elements and accompanying services and software help to secure about 450 telecommunications carriers, more than 3,000 financial companies and more than 80 e-government programs, according to the company's website. It said the deal will strengthen its identity and access management business. Gemalto had revenue of nearly €2.4 billion last year.

Gemalto will buy SafeNet from Vector Capital, a San Francisco private equity firm that acquired SafeNet in 2007 for about $634 million.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

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