U.S. arms maker Raytheon Co is buying network security provider Websense Inc from private equity firm Vista Equity Partners LLC in a $1.9 billion deal, the latest in the fast-growing cybersecurity market.
Several companies, including Sony Corp, Staples Inc, Home Depot Inc and Target Corp, have been targets of high-profile data thefts over the past two years.
"We're seeing an exponential increase in the number of attacks by ultra-sophisticated attackers," Raytheon Chief Executive Thomas Kennedy told Reuters. "It is the combination of those two that is leading to an explosion in the cybersecurity area."
A cyber attack in mid-2014 at the U.S. Investigations Services, which performs background checks for U.S. government employees, compromised data of at least 25,000 workers, including some undercover investigators.
The Websense deal will add more than 20,000 commercial customers to Raytheon's portfolio of predominantly government clients.
"This acquisition highlights the massive investments being allocated toward this high-priority area of IT spending as enterprises of all shapes and sizes look to bulk up legacy security systems with next-generation technologies," FBR Capital Markets analyst Daniel Ives wrote in a note.
The global cybersecurity market is estimated to jump to about $156 billion in 2019 from $96 billion in 2014, according to research firm MarketsandMarkets.
Bain Capital LLC agreed last month to buy network security company Blue Coat Systems Inc in deal that valued the company at about $2.4 billion, including debt.
Raytheon, which is paying about $1.6 billion including debt for Websense, said it would combine its cybersecurity unit with the company. The deal is valued at $1.9 billion, net of cash.
Vista will then invest about $335 million for a nearly 20 percent equity stake in the new company, Raytheon said on Monday.
The new company, which will be headed by Websense CEO John McCormack, will be a separately reported business unit, Raytheon said.
A board of directors will be formed for the new company and will include representatives of both Raytheon and Vista, the company said.
RBC Capital Markets LLC was the lead financial adviser to Raytheon. Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, Steptoe & Johnson LLP and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati were its legal advisers.
Citi was the financial adviser to Websense, while Kirkland & Ellis LLP its legal adviser.
Raytheon's shares were down about 1 percent at $106.81 on the New York Stock Exchange.
(Additional reporting by Andrea Shalal and Devika Krishna Kumar; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)
This story originally appeared on Reuters