A private equity firm, Marlin Equity Partners, on Tuesday said has agreed to acquire a commercially-focused cyber security business unit from General Dynamics [GD] that the defense contractor is shedding to focus on its core government customers.

Terms of the deal, which is expected to close in the second quarter of 2015, were not disclosed.

General Dynamics Fidelis Cybersecurity Solutions President Peter George. Photo: General Dynamics
General Dynamics Fidelis Cybersecurity Solutions President Peter George. Photo: General Dynamics

The pending sale of Fidelis Cybersecurity Solutions by GD mirrors a move early this year by Boeing [BA] to shed Narus, a commercial cyber security company it had acquired in 2010 in an attempt to leverage the small firm’s deep packet inspection and analytics capabilities for its government customer base and other potential new customers. Boeing said those opportunities never appeared and Narus ceased operations in December, a month before cyber security software and solutions provider Symantec [SYMC] in January hired staff and licensed intellectual property related from Narus.

GD purchased Fidelis Cybersecurity in 2012 and the business, which has 180 employees, has doubled in size since then, said Lucy Ryan, the company’s spokeswoman. Fidelis had 70 employees when GD bought the company.

GD’s Mission Systems division has a large government footprint for its cyber solutions and the defense contractor said it will remain focused on helping these customers with their cyber security needs.

“We will continue to do what we do really well and that is to help our government customers defend and protect highly sensitive networks from cyber threats,” Nadia Short, vice president and general manager of the Cyber Systems line of business for GD Mission Systems, said in a statement. “We have a comprehensive and robust government-focused cyber security portfolio. And, we are continuing to invest resources in technology development to ensure we deliver resilient, relevant and innovative solutions that support mission needs.”

Marlin Equity Partners will set up Fidelis Cybersecurity as an independent cyber security firm. Peter George, who is president of GD Fidelis Cybersecurity Solutions, will become CEO of Fidelis Cybersecurity.

“Marlin is very excited to partner with Fidelis’ world class management team to expand and grow the company’s industry-leading solutions,” Peter Chung, a principal at Marlin, said in a statement. “As global cyber security threats continue to become more prevalent, Fidelis’ technology is uniquely positioned to help customers defend themselves against advanced malware attacks and internal and external data theft.”

Fidelis’ main product is Fidelis XPS, which is a threat defense software solution for detecting and preventing malware infections. The product also detects and prevents the spread of malware within an organization’s computer networks and the theft of information. The business unit also has a threat research team and an incident response team to help customers investigate cyber breaches.

Last week Fidelis published a threat advisory on a new remote access Trojan virus called AlienSpy that was available to threat actors through a subscription model. Marlin Equity said domain name registrar GoDaddy [GDDY] suspended AlienSpy’s domain after Fidelis exposed it, thereby “shutting down the malware.”

GD’s financial advisers on the deal were AGC Partners and KippsDeSanto.