Feeds

QinetiQ buys spooks' secure-messaging provider

Boldon James joins the Q, triples in price

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.