Md. data-protection company sold for $890M

Data-protection company SafeNet Inc. of Belcamp, Maryland, has been acquired for $890 million in cash by an Amsterdam software developer.

The acquisition by Gemalto NV will be funded with existing cash reserves and debt, the company said today in a statement.

SafeNet, whose customers include Bank of America Corp., Starbucks Corp. and Netflix Inc., has forecast revenue of $370 million and profit from operations of $51 million for this year.

Gemalto expects to complete the deal in the fourth quarter.

Gemalto, the inventor of the smart-card chip, has been seeking to cater to the likes of Facebook Inc. after selling authentication devices and security software to banks, governments, and companies such as Microsoft Corp. and Boeing Co.

“There’s more and more sensitivity on protecting data from being hacked and, if it’s stolen, to make it unusable,” Chief Executive Officer Olivier Piou said in a phone interview. “It’s the right time to make this acquisition.”

Incidents of hacking and security breaches have multiplied, affecting companies from EBay Inc. to Snapchat Inc., since a massive data breach at Target Corp. last year led to the ousting of the company’s CEO and spurred concern among executives about repeating the retailer’s mistake. A U.S. security company this week said a gang of hackers in Russia had amassed 1.2 billion sets of looted user names and passwords.

Facebook this week said it’s acquiring PrivateCore, a startup that makes software for protecting data, to strengthen the security of its systems.

Gemalto expects to surpass its 2017 target for 600 million euros ($801 million) in profit from operations by about 10 percent because of the transaction, the company said.


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