Thales gets green light from ACCC to buy Gemalto

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Thales gets green light from ACCC to buy Gemalto
Gemalto SafeNet Luna network GP HSM. Source: Gemalto.

Must sell general-purpose hardware security module business.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said it will allow Thales to buy Dutch security company Gemalto, on condition that the French technology multinational divests overlapping business in which the two compete with each other.

Both companies sell general-purpose hardware security modules and are the largest suppliers of the data encryption and decryption technology worldwide and in Australia.

Thales' $7.7 billion buy of Gemalto that was mooted in April this year raised concerns with anti-trust watchdogs worldwide that feared it would result in substantially lessened competition.

However, Thales supplied a court-enforceable undertaking to the European Commission that it would sell its global nShield GP HSM business and the ACCC has now accepted this.

The purchaser of the relatively small GP HSM business which in 2017 had revenues of $144 million must be approved by the ACCC.

Thales will be allowed ot keep its payments HSM business. These devices are used by retail banks and payments processors.

Gemalto's local operations are based in Sydney and Melbourne whereas Thales is active throughout the country.

Pushing through the deal between the two global companies has been a long slog that required them to woo competition watchdogs around the world, and saw Thales miss its August 15 deadline for the acquisition offer by a wide margin.

Prior to the ACCC approval, the acquisition of Gemalto had been approved by the European Commission, and the New Zealand Commerce Commission. 

In September, the merger was given the go-ahead by the United States Committee on Foreign Investment, after Canada, China, Israel and Turkey said yes as well.

Gemalto was also chased by Atos, also headquartered in France, which bid $7.1 billion for the Dutch company a year ago, saying it wanted to create the world's largest cyber security conglomerate.

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