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22 February, 2019 - 13:20 By Tony Quested

Thales agrees to sell nCipher to US company

Thales has signed a definitive agreement with Entrust Datacard, a top US provider of trusted identity and secure issuance technology solutions, to sell Cambridge technology subsidiary nCipher Security.

Thales’ General Purpose Hardware Security Module (GP HSM) business has been operating as a separate stand-alone business within Thales since January under the nCipher Security brand.

No sums are being disclosed for the transaction which is expected to close during the second quarter of 2019.

The deal addresses commitments made by Thales to several competition authorities to divest this business to a suitable purchaser in order to ensure a strongly competitive market for GP HSM solutions and to finalise the acquisition of Gemalto.

The transaction is subject to the successful completion of the acquisition of Gemalto by Thales, the approval of Entrust as a suitable purchaser by the European Commission, US Department of Justice, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and New Zealand Commerce Commission and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions.

The deal will enable nCipher Security — with more than €100 million in revenues in 2018 and over 300 employees under the leadership of CEO and 20-year Thales ‘veteran’ Cindy Provin — to continue to deliver innovative solutions and services and strengthen its market leadership.

With customers in more than 150 countries, Entrust Datacard has been offering identity-based, enterprise-grade security solutions for 50 years. It has more than 2,200 employees in 34 locations worldwide. And its headquarters are in Minneapolis.

With over €500m in annual revenue, Entrust Datacard has a broad portfolio of complementary solutions to secure and control customers’ critical information and applications. The company is a global leader in Public Key Infrastructure solutions and services — the primary use case for GP HSMs in protecting infrastructure private keys such as root and issuing Certification Authorities keys.

Philippe Keryer, executive VP, Strategy, Research and Technology at Thales, said: “This announcement marks a key step in the ongoing process regarding the acquisition of Gemalto which we expect to close by end March.

“We are convinced that nCipher Security will strongly leverage the expertise of Entrust Datacard, an organisation focused on their competencies in the development of safe and secure access to information, applications and networks as well as its global presence specifically in Europe and in North America.”

Todd Wilkinson, president and CEO of Entrust added: “This acquisition is an excellent complement to our expertise in both cryptography and hardware and will extend our ability to meet the evolving security needs of our customers globally while allowing us to accelerate our own growth.

“nCipher Security has a strong market position, brings with it exceptional internal talent and offers us the ability to develop even more comprehensive solutions for our clients.”

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