Sources: Raytheon Agrees To Acquire Websense, Deal To Be Announced Monday

Raytheon has agreed to acquire security vendor Websense, in a deal that adds content filtering, antimalware protection and data leakage prevention to the U.S. defense contractor's portfolio, sources familiar with the matter told CRN.

Raytheon plans to announce the deal Monday, according to the sources, who did not know how much the defense contractor is paying to acquire Websense.

Websense is owned by private equity firm Vista Equity Partners, which acquired the security vendor for $907 million in 2013. Bloomberg reported last month that Vista had hired Citigroup to sell Websense for more than $1 billion.

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Raytheon didn't respond to phone calls and emails seeking comment.

"It is a longstanding policy of Websense to not speculate on rumors," a spokesman for the Austin, Texas-based vendor said via email.

Raytheon is one of several global defense contractors that are paying more attention to security these days. British defense contractor BAE Systems acquired SilverSky, a New York City-based managed security service provider, for $232 million in October.

Waltham, Mass.-based Raytheon acquired Blackbird Technologies, a security and surveillance vendor with close government ties, for $420 million last November.

"Raytheon's cybersecurity segment should be a significant bright spot for the company moving forward, adding immense potential upside to the $34B company," Seeking Alpha said in a report last month.

Peter Bybee, president and CEO of San Diego-based Security On-Demand, a managed security services provider, said defense companies are interested in security technology to protect their assets and prepare for the threat of cyberwarfare.

"I think these defense companies are realizing that they have to go a different way to establish themselves in the commercial world," Bybee said when informed of the deal by CRN. "There are opportunities for these defense guys to deepen their reach into government agencies as well."

Kevin Finisterre, lead security consultant with software development firm Pillar Technology, said when informed of the acquisition by CRN that he sees Raytheon acquiring Websense as part of its strategy of providing security solutions to Department Of Defense customers.

"Websense claims to stop attacks no one has seen and to be able to stop data leaks," Finisterre said. "Defense contractors have been getting their [butts] handed to them the past few years with attacks. Why not invest in an ounce of prevention?"

Websense started out in 1994 as a vendor of content filtering technology, and its main pitch at the time was to companies that were looking to control their employees' web surfing. Over time, Websense has added data leak prevention and web security gateway technology to the mix.

Bloomberg reported last month that Raytheon and Websense were in acquisition talks.