Elbit Systems Ltd. agreed to buy the cyber and intel business of Nice Systems Ltd. for about $158 million. The deal was announced just days after Bezhalel Machlis, Elbit’s chief executive officer, called the industry a priority.
The purchase of Nice’s division brings advanced cybersecurity capabilities to Elbit, according to Machlis in a filing. It will be merged with Elbit's recently created subsidiary, Cyberbit Ltd. Nice, also based in Israel, has offices in cities across the U.S., including Atlanta, Denver, New York and Paramus, New Jersey.
Elbit, known as Israel’s biggest publicly traded defense company, plans to buy up more companies in the space, Machlis said in its first-quarter earnings release on May 18.
Demand for cybersecurity products is growing as global companies such as high-profile companies Sony Pictures Entertainment (NYSE: SNE) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. have been hurt with hacks and data breaches.
Since then, many cybersecurity deals have been taking place.
In March, Bain Capital announced its intention to buy Blue Coat Systems Inc., a provider of Internet security software, for $2.4 billion from private equity firm Thoma Bravo. Bain is paying all cash and expects the transaction to be completed in the first half of 2015. Thoma Bravo acquired Blue Coat in 2012, taking it private in a $1.3 billion transaction.
In April, Raytheon Co. (NYSE: RTN) said it was joining forces with PE firm Vista Equity Partners to create a new cybersecurity company. As part of the transaction, Raytheon agreed to acquire Websense Inc. from Vista for $1.9 billion. Raytheon will contribute $1.57 billion in cash to the new company, of which $600 million will be a loan. The deal will result in an enterprise value of $2.3 billion for the new company, in which Raytheon will hold an 80 percent stake and Vista will keep about 20 percent, for a $335 million investment.
There was also Veritas Capital's purchase of BeyondTrust from PE and venture capital firm Insight Venture Partners. BeyondTrust, headquartered in Phoenix, provides cybersecurity software and services to companies and governments. Lockheed Martin’s (NYSE: LMT) acquisition of Industrial Defender Inc. in March and Palo Alto Networks’ (NYSE: PANW) $200 million purchase of Cyvera Ltd. in April. FireEye picked up nPulse Technologies for $70 million in May, while IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) bought CrossIdeas and Lighthouse Security Group LLC in July and August, respectively.
The pace of acquisitions isn’t expected to slow down as the urgency to fend against cyber threats continues to grow. Possible M&A targets include Imperva (NYSE: IMPV), Proofpoint (Nasdaq: PFPT) and Lifelock (NYSE: LOCK).