Alcatel-Lucent is currently in exclusive negotiations with Thales to sell off its network security business to the defense giant.
Alcatel-Lucent said Thursday that it was looking to form a strategic partnership with Thales SA (Paris: TCFP.PA) in which they would provide their combined cyber security and communications security services to their customers. Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) would also continue to develop new "advanced security features for its portfolio of IP and ultra-broadband access products," the company said in a release on the proposed deal.
Cyber security was a cornerstone of Alcatel-Lucent's Shift Plan, unveiled last year, and the company believes that by divesting to Thales it will be able to offer customers an end-to-end network security platform that combines its network knowledge with Thales's defense services. (See Alcatel-Lucent Unveils Shift Plan and Alcatel-Lucent Builds Future Around IP.)
The deal isn't official yet, as the two companies work out the terms of the deal, but this isn't the first tie-up between the pair. Alcatel-Lucent previously had a 20.8% stake in Thales that it sold off in 2008 as part of its effort to divest non-core assets. It had transferred its space assets to Thales in 2007 after Alcatel and Lucent merged. (See AlcaLu to Sell Thales and AlcaLu Seals Asset Sale Deal.)
This is the third of several planned partnerships that AlcaLu is forming under the Shift Plan. In February it sold a small stake of its small-cell business to Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) and struck a deal with Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) focused on cloud. (See Alcatel-Lucent CEO: We Can Go It Alone and Joint Qualcomm & AlcaLu Small Cells Due Mid-Year.)
"Alcatel-Lucent needs a significant play in network security to be competitive with where Nokia is already at and where Ericsson is clearly going now," Heavy Reading security analyst Patrick Donegan tells us. "This looks like it, albeit the devil will be in the details when they are discussed in briefings in the coming days."
In the meantime, check out the Show Site for Light Reading's Mobile Network Security Summit, which took place in London yesterday, for more on the state of mobile network security today. (See Slide Show: Mobile Network Security Strategies London.)
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading