Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. and its subsidiary companies (Singtel), with main operations in Singapore and Australia, stated on April 7, 2015, it intends to acquire Trustwave Holdings Inc., a Chicago-based information security company.
The deal, worth an estimated $810 million and expected to close in three to six months, is the latest in a series of technology acquisitions by the telecom conglomerate, which has over 500 million subscribers in 25 countries and provides a range of fixed, mobile, data, internet, television and information and communications technology services. Payments analysts view the move as consistent with the company's far-reaching security and digital technology strategies.
Trustwave is the newest addition to Singtel's digital portfolio, which includes the following recent acquisitions: $321 million for cross-channel digital marketing firm Amobee, $235 million for cross-channel digital marketer Adconion, and $150 million for advanced data analytics company Kontera.
"We aspire to be a global player in cyber security," said Singtel Group Chief Executive Officer Chua Sock Koong, attributing the company's digital and security business growth to organic forces and "strategic partnerships with global technology leaders."
Following the Trustwave announcement, Singtel shared its strategy for building out Amobee, Adconion, and Kontera business divisions, which Koong described as "key growth areas" for the company's "unique telco assets." Additionally, the company mentioned internal promotions of senior executives to manage finance, mergers and acquisitions, and Singtel's expanding digital portfolio.
Koong expects the combined capabilities of Singtel and Trustwave to increase both companies' market share of cloud-based and cyber-security services by delivering next-generation managed services to business owners worldwide. While complete terms of the deal have not been released, Singtel will reportedly take a 98 percent equity stake in Trustwave, which will continue to function as an autonomous business unit when the merger is complete; it will also maintain its existing offices in Chicago while participating with Singtel in global initiatives.
Trustwave has a subscriber base of more than 3 million in 96 countries, including 10 leading U.S. payments acquirers. The company provides automated, enterprise-level threat, vulnerability and compliance management systems.
"We are excited to join Singtel and to leverage its global presence and resources to accelerate worldwide adoption of our security solutions," said Trustwave Chairman, CEO and President Robert J. McCullen, who called the partnership an unparalleled opportunity to combine Singtel's information and communications solutions with Trustwave's managed services platform.
"Singtel is the perfect partner for us as we continue to help businesses fight cybercrime, protect data and reduce security risk," he added.
Trustwave's global footprint includes five security operations centers located in Chicago, Denver and Minneapolis in the United States; Manila in the Philippines; and Warsaw, Poland. The company hosts TrustKeeper, a cloud-based portal security and compliance service, and operates Trustwave SpiderLabs, a threat research division. It also has numerous patented security technologies.
The managed services sector has grown exponentially, especially in the United States, where business owners spent approximately $14 billion on such services in 2014. Increasing numbers of acquirers, merchants and ISOs rely on subscription-based security services to stay apace with the evolving threat landscape.
The 2014 Gartner Information Security Forecast report predicted continuing growth in managed services with up to $24 billion in spend by 2018. Payments analysts expect managed security best practices combined with U.S. chip card adoption to mitigate online and in-store payment card fraud.
In an internal letter released to Singtel employees, Bill Chang, CEO of Singapore Telecom Group Enterprise stated that Singtel will leverage Trustwave technologies and deep talent to meet global demand for always-on managed security services. Chang positioned Trustwave solutions as scalable, cost-effective deterrents to "frequent and persistent cyber security breaches for enterprises and governments, which can be deployed quickly against real-time and complex cyber threats."
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