Singtel readies $419m sale of cyber-security arm Trustwave, sources say

Singtel is streamlining its portfolio as it seeks to raise cash and focus on 5G operations. PHOTO: THE STRAITS TIMES

HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) - Singtel is moving forward with a planned sale of its cyber-security business Trustwave Holdings that could raise about US$200 million to US$300 million (S$279.5 million to S$419 million), people familiar with the matter said.

The Singapore telco has been speaking with financial advisers as it prepares for a potential divestment of the Chicago-based unit, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. Trustwave could attract interest from other firms in the industry and investment funds, according to the people.

Considerations are preliminary and Singtel could still decide to retain the asset, they said. A representative for Singtel declined to comment.

Singtel is streamlining its portfolio as it seeks to raise cash and focus on 5G operations as well as developing new growth engines including information technology services and data centres.

The company announced in May 2021 that it was taking a US$250 million non-cash impairment charge against its investment in Trustwave, and said it had begun a strategic review of the business. Trustwave later divested SecureTrust, its payment card industry compliance business, for US$80 million, according to a press release last October.

Singtel acquired Trustwave in 2015 for US$810 million.

Singtel shares were down two cents, or 0.75 per cent, at $2.64 as at 10.55am on Tuesday.

The company agreed to sell advertising platform Amobee in July to Tremor International for a total consideration of US$239 million, according to a statement. It is also considering options, including a potential stake sale in the fibre assets of  Australian subsidiary Singtel Optus, Bloomberg News has reported.

In October, Singtel sold a majority stake in a portfolio of Australian wireless tower assets to pension manager AustralianSuper for about A$1.9 billion (S$1.8 billion).

The valuations of both private and public tech assets have slumped in recent months amid rising interest rates and fears over economic growth, prompting some investors to trim bets on digital companies. Shares in cyber-security firm Crowdstrike Holdings have lost 22.5 per cent in the last 12 months, while NortonLifeLock is down 9.4 per cent in the same period.

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