Emerging Technology

Australian IT security firm Trust Defender bought by US group ThreatMetrix

Patrick Stafford /

Australian IT security company TrustDefender has been acquired by American group ThreatMetrix in a move the companies say will allow them both to create better software solutions and score bigger deals.

Although ThreatMetrix is now based in the United States and has a number of American venture capital owners, it has strong Australian ties. It raised $5.5 million in capital from CM Capital in 2008 and moved its offices to the United States, while co-founder David Jones is also Australian.

Co-founder Ted Egan told SmartCompany this morning the deal made sense for both operations.

“Both companies originate in Australia, and it made sense for us because we were going down the same path. We’ve had a working relationship before and worked on some other projects.”

“They have a great fraud prevention platform, and we had more products on the malware side of things.”

Egan says ThreatMetrix focused on device, IT fraud and eCommerce channels, while TrustDefender is able to provide more experience on preventing malware. “The sum of two is greater than three,” he said.

Egan would not disclose a purchase price, but did say, “We’re all very happy”.

The company won a $16 million investment from publicly-listed technology firm Nexbis in 2010, which took a 50% stake, which was later reduced to 20%.

Nexbis planned to float TrustDefender on the ASX in 2010 and raise $6 million, but that plan was abandoned.

In a statement to the ASX this morning, Nexbis announced it had disposed of the TrustDefender Asset in a share purchase agreement with a cash consideration of $677,554, implying a total value of $3.3 million for the business.

Nexbis also said the company had written down the carrying value of the company with an impact of $1.5 million to the current financial year forecast.

Egan now says the company can beef up its research and development practices, especially as all the staff have moved over into the new entity.

“Our research is split between Sydney and San Jose, and our management team is split between the two as well. I’ll be heading up as sales director for the Asia Pacific, which includes China and India, and we’re continuing to grow in both the United States and Europe.”

Egan says the two companies will be able to gather bigger deals by working together.

“What we’re seeing now is that in the past couple of months, we’ve been able to get much better deals, including major banks, and major eCommerce providers. This puts us in a front row seat to pick up major deals.”

TrustDefender chief executive Andreas Baumhof will join ThreatMetrix as chief technology officer, and said in a statement that the two companies will be able to work closely as malware protection and fraud prevention become more closely linked.

“The merger allows ThreatMetrix to address fraud prevention and malware protection as a single problem and deliver real benefits to customers at a lower cost.”

Patrick Stafford

Patrick Stafford is a freelance journalist and a former deputy editor of SmartCompany.