Thales struck a deal to acquire cybersecurity company Tesserent for $176 million, a transaction aimed at bolstering its Australian and New Zealand units.

The potential buyout, subject to regulatory and shareholder approval, will see Tesserent fully acquired by the company’s Australian subsidiary. This will enable Thales to accelerate its cybersecurity services for customers based in the countries, it claimed in a statement.

It also cited the takeover bid was “unanimously recommended” by Tesserent’s board of directors.

Under the deal, Tesserent will retain its brand name, but its visual identity will incorporate a tagline indicating the French company’s backing.

Tesserent has a headcount in Australia of around 500.

Thales touted Tesserent as “a leading cyber consulting company for government and defence” in Australia which provides a range of services to critical infrastructure and enterprise clients.

Jeff Connolly, Thales Australia CEO, said the acquisition of Tesserent and the combination of the pair’s expertise will allow the company to “establish an Australian/New Zealand leader in cyber defence”.

Connolly added it will also give Tesserent access to global expertise and a strong balance sheet required to provide “sophisticated and wide” offerings in the markets.

The announcement followed a series of cyber attacks in Australia, including those involving Optus and insurance company Medibank.

Completion of the transaction is expected during the second half of 2023.