Boeing eyes revamp of cyber business to focus on key areas

Reuters News
|
Posted: Nov 18, 2014 7:33 PM

By Andrea Shalal

EL SEGUNDO Calif. (Reuters) - Boeing Co said this week it is reevaluating its cybersecurity business and could divest or reassign some units as it focuses more on a few critical areas, including classified work it is doing for some U.S. government agencies.

Boeing, the Pentagon's No. 2 supplier and the world's largest aerospace company, bought a handful of cybersecurity companies several years ago, but the market has not proven to be as promising as once expected.

Craig Cooning, who took over as head of the Boeing division that includes satellites, networks and missile defense, said Boeing was reassessing its work in the cyber arena, which he described as a highly disaggregated market.

"We're looking at ... where are the businesses that we want to go all in on, and (where) there may be other businesses that are reassigned to other parts of Boeing, or that we may not do," Cooning told Reuters in an interview at his office in El Segundo, California, on Monday.

Cooning said it was difficult to reach sufficient scale with a number of smaller acquisitions, particularly given the large number of customers and producers that have rushed into the sector in recent years.

"There doesn’t seem to be a common core or thread that runs through it," he said. "The critical thing is to find our niche and extrapolate and exploit it ... We're not going to do everything, soup to nuts."

Cooning said he could not rule out divestments of certain units but provided no specific details. He said the company was pleased with the classified cyber work it was doing for some government agencies but declined to comment further.

He singled out Argon, which Boeing acquired in 2010 for $775 million in an all-cash deal, and Digital Receiver Technology (DRT), which Boeing bought in 2008, as successful parts of the company's cyber portfolio.

One of Boeing's strengths, he said, was protecting its own platforms and linking them, noting that Boeing operated one of the biggest virtual private networks in the world.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Ken Wills)