Feeds

QinetiQ buys spooks' secure-messaging provider

Boldon James joins the Q, triples in price

High performance access to file storage

British warboffinry spinoff firm QinetiQ announced today that it had acquired Boldon James, secure-messaging software providers to UK military and spook customers.

Boldon James was owned by private equity outfit Warburg Pincus from 1998 to 2005, having been acquired from its original owners. The company's established customers have long included the UK Ministry of Defence, in partnership with other firms.

The latest military units to use Boldon James products will be the new Type 45 destroyers for the Royal Navy. The company also has deals with the German, Turkish and Australian forces.

Boldon James also provides secure formal messaging to other UK government clients, probably including the domestically-focused Security Service (MI5) but perhaps not the more overseas-oriented Secret Intelligence Service (MI6). The company brands its products as suitable for "Homeland Security" and specifies that it has Home Office contracts but not Foreign Office, which would tend to support this assessment - as would QinetiQ's release today, specifying "military, government and security customers".

In 2005, with Warburg Pincus looking for an exit, there was a £5.5m management buyout using backing provided by equity outfit ISIS, and a big sales and marketing push followed.

The glamour of the spooks may have been a useful selling point. During 2006 Boldon James was named as Microsoft's Global "Go To Market Partner" for Defence Messaging, and the company landed a deal in partnership with US defence giant Lockheed to supply military message handling software to the American armed forces. The deal is said by Boldon James to be worth a little more than £10m over 10 years.

Now ISIS have sold their interest to QinetiQ, which was itself formed by the UK Ministry of Defence selling off most of its former Defence Evaluation & Research Agency. Qinetiq have paid £15.7m up front, and up to £4.3m will follow if targets are met. The money goes to "ISIS Equity Partners, the management team and other staff who hold shares following the exercise of options".

ISIS claim to have more than tripled their money, though the exact divvy between the former shoreholders hasn't been revealed.

According to the ISIS release, Martin Sugden, CEO at Boldon James, commented: "ISIS understood the market in which we operated in." Though we're guessing he didn't actually say that.

Sugden went on to add: "We are delighted to be joining QinetiQ. They provide a superb channel to market and complementary expertise, enabling Boldon James to leverage our already strong market position."

Boldon James employs 68 people - "a number of whom have extensive intelligence and military backgrounds" - and has offices in Crewe and Maidenhead. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.