Billionaire’s tech firm to buy BAE fraud-detection arm NetReveal

Technology billionaire Romesh Wadhwani’s artificial intelligence software company agreed to buy BAE Systems Plc’s financial crime detection business, NetReveal.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but SymphonyAI Chief Executive Officer Sanjay Dhawan said in an interview that it was his company’s biggest to date and would help it sell more software to financial institutions. It’s expected to close this year, he said.

Bloomberg reported in January that UK defense giant BAE, which acquired London-based NetReveal as part of its 2008 purchase of Detica Group Plc, was exploring a sale of the business.

NetReveal develops technology used by firms including banks to prevent fraud and manage risk, and Dhawan said this would bolster SymphonyAI’s existing financial crime tools. The companies compete with firms such as NICE Actimize.

“When the economy turns down, financial crime tends to increase,” Mike Foster, managing director of NetReveal, said in an interview. He added that demand was being driven by new entrants to the financial industry, such as digital payments companies.

SymphonyAI was founded by Wadhwani, who also serves as its chairman.

Founded in 2017 and now led by Dhawan, SymphonyAI will grow its roughly 2,000 staff by about 10% this year and eventually pursue an initial public offering. Dhawan said no firm date has been set but could come in the next couple of years.

–By Kiel Porter and Ivan Levingston (Bloomberg)