Security vendor Websense has claimed its takeover by US defence contractor Raytheon will give it and its partners more "horsepower" as it announced the appointment of its new UK channel boss.
Raytheon announced this month it is investing $1.57bn (£1.02bn) in a new company that combines Websense with Raytheon Cyber Products, one of its existing business units that has 400 staff.
Raytheon will hold an 80 per cent stake in the entity – whose goal will be to provide defence-grade security to commercial organisations – with Websense's existing private equity owner, Vista, retaining 20 per cent.
Talking to CRN, Charles Saunders, senior director of corporate and marketing communications at Websense, said the merger would hand partners a wider set of tools with which to defend customers against data theft.
"I think partners should be pretty excited, as it was the deliberate intent of Raytheon to buy an organisation with a strong, established channel," Saunders said.
"They are also going to be able to take some pretty amazing technology, which has so far been focused on defending pretty specialist areas, and provide it to their commercial customers. We believe the two product road maps are very complementary."
Neal Lillywhite, Websense's area vice president of northern Europe (pictured), added: "I see us becoming more relevant to partners rather than less relevant through this; it will provide more horsepower."
Based at Websense's Austin HQ and headed up by Websense chief executive John McCormack, the combined business has yet to be named.
"We are exploring branding options and that will be revealed when the transaction is closed [anticipated for Q2], or thereabouts," Saunders said.
News of the takeover coincides with Websense's appointment of a new UK channel director in the form of Rob Stockford who will start at the end of May. Former Juniper finance head Mark Sainsbury has also joined the UK team as enterprise sales boss.
Lillywhite said the new personnel will bolster Websense's channel credentials following the well-documented issues it encountered last year and early this year.
"We will have a channel director back in role again," Lillywhite said. "This will help get the engagement back with the channel in terms of good practice, re-engaging with core partners and driving it forward that we are committed to the channel. There was room for improvement and Rob will be key to that."
Raytheon's pounce on Websense is just the latest example of a defence contractor leaping into cybersecurity, Saunders said.
"It's not surprising it's close to their hearts given the president of the United States talks about cybersecurity at most opportunities," he said.
"I think what's special about the Raytheon deal is they've been quite self-aware in recognising that in order to be successful, they need to take the great technology they have in conjunction with an organisation that is used to selling in the commercial space and has an established channel. It chose Websense not only for its technology platform, but also because of the 20 years of business selling into the commercial space and through the channel that is behind it."
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