M&A

Former Northrop cyber business BluVector bought by Comcast

BluVector, the commercial cybersecurity company whose flagship product is driven by artificial intelligence and machine learning, is being acquired again by a new owner almost two years after the spinout from former parent Northrop Grumman.

This time the buyer for Arlington, Virginia-based BluVector is Comcast, the global media giant said Monday. Terms of the transaction are undisclosed but BluVector had about 70 employees as of October 2018, its founding CEO Kris Lovejoy told me at the time. Private equity firm LLR Partners had owned BluVector for two years.

Comcast will work with BluVector to develop new cybersecurity technologies.

Comcast also announced that appointed as BluVector’s new CEO Eric Malawer, a founder of three technology companies and a former House Homeland Security Committee staff director. Lovejoy joined Ernst & Young earlier this year as its global cybersecurity leader and will act as an adviser and consultant to BluVector and Comcast.

In January 2017, Northrop sold what is now BluVector to LLR. Northrop wanted to further concentrate its cyber business on the government market and never intended to keep BluVector in-house for the long term -- unlike many other contractors that have tried and failed to realize success in the commercial cyber market.

Rather, the plan was to stand up the technology, build it up and then set the shop free to pursue commercial market growth on its own. The technology is designed as a self-adapting platform that learns patterns and rules of cyber attacks, partly by emulating how code behaves once a machine or application is attacked.

While 90 percent of BluVector’s customer base is in the commercial market, the company never exited the public sector market in owing to its launch inside Northrop almost four years ago under the name of “Acuity Solutions.”

In October 2018, BluVector secured what it called a “multimillion-dollar contract with a U.S. government agency” without any other details offered. But that award does indicate agencies are increasingly looking to incorporate AI, machine learning and other automation technologies into their cyber postures.

About the Author

Ross Wilkers is a senior staff writer for Washington Technology. He can be reached at rwilkers@washingtontechnology.com. Follow him on Twitter: @rosswilkers. Also find and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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