Raytheon Said to Be in Talks to Acquire Vista-Owned Websense

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Raytheon Co. is in talks to acquire Websense Inc., the network-security company owned by private-equity firm Vista Equity Partners LLC, according to people familiar with the matter.

A deal could be reached as soon as this month, one person said, asking not to be identified because the process is private. Vista hired Citigroup Inc. to sell Austin, Texas-based Websense for more than $1 billion, Bloomberg News reported last week. There’s no guarantee the two sides will come to an agreement, the people said.

Websense makes software that blocks websites and lets companies inspect network traffic and filter e-mails for security and hacking threats. Raytheon, the world’s biggest missile maker with products including the Patriot system, in November acquired Blackbird Technologies, a surveillance and cybersecurity company, for $420 million to bolster its intelligence business.

Raytheon jumped as much as 4.2 percent in New York trading. The shares climbed 2.4 percent as of 3:14 p.m., giving the company a market value of about $33.5 billion.

In a Jan. 29 interview, Raytheon Chief Financial Officer Dave Wajsgras said the Waltham, Massachusetts-based company will pursue other deals, with an emphasis on expanding its cyber capabilities and electronic-warfare operations.

“We will continue to focus on technology-based acquisitions in areas that we see we can expand our markets and build off of our technology foundation,” he said.

Vista acquired Websense for about $890 million in 2013. A representative for San Francisco-based Vista declined to comment, as did a spokesman for Citigroup. A spokeswoman for Raytheon declined to comment.

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