Optiv has revealed it was at the negotiating table considering an offer to acquire the UK's biggest MSSP, SecureData, and Europe's biggest, SecureLink - both of which were instead snapped up this year by Orange Business Services.
Speaking to CPI, Optiv's CMO Peter Evans (pictured) said Optiv had looked into acquiring both European MSSPs, but was ultimately outbid by French firm Orange Business Services.
"Yes, we did look at both of those companies," Evans (pictured) told CPI.
"We were highly engaged. But in Europe, we don't believe in paying Ferrari prices for a Honda"
Evans went on to say that Orange's cybersecurity acquisitions in Europe point to a "market gap" in the industry.
"If you think of cybersecurity, there's some 3,000 vendors… But there's this huge market gap for a systems integrator. We've seen it and it looks like Orange is there."
He added: "Frankly, I like to have other people marketing alongside us, because it means that they have also seen the challenge, and they're going to help create broader awareness that there's a better way to do things. And we'll just go and serve those customers better and faster…
"Now we're searching for an acquisition that's good value and that's going to help accelerate our business model."
Optiv's acquisitive eye is down to the security SI's ambitious goal of replicating its US business in its EMEA operations.
However, there is still a long way to go. The firm's US business currently brings in $2.5bn in revenues. Its EMEA revenues are closer to $50m - $100m, Evans said.
However, Optiv first told CPI that it wanted to "emulate its US business in EMEA" this time last year; and that it would be in part via acquisition.
Has Orange Business Services beating them to the punch to two of its plum potential targets changed their growth via acquisition strategy?
"We're growing at around a 75 per cent growth clip every year in EMEA," Evans said.
"We do business with some 7,000 customers around the world, and about 70 countries, but the bulk of that is through the US.
"And every one of those customers are saying, ‘You know, we have a similar size or even greater operations globally, and we want the same continuity that we have with you in North America in these other global locations.'… So, we're going to leverage those North America connections.
"The other area, as I mentioned, is acquisitions of our own."
Since last year, the Colorado-based firm has made good on its pledge to invest more capital into its EMEA business.
This year it's poured £1.2m into its UK operations at its central London Holborn office.
And its EMEA headcount will rise from its 2018 number of 25 to 80 by the end of this year.
Optiv's SVP of partner alliances, Chris Stolley, told CPI that the SI is also investing in its MSSP partners, which he called the company's "fastest growing business line".
"It's a huge component of our strategy," he said.
"We're calling it our cyber operations strategy. And that investment is talking about software integration, all of it to optimise cyber operations. It's going to help with the tech talent gap if we can automate some components, and enable an analyst to be able to make smarter decisions, quicker. So, it's a huge investment in cyber operations for us.
"And we've also just opened up another security operations centre in the US, and one of our goals is to have an EMEA operations centre opened as fast as possible."
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