AT&T said today that it plans to enter a joint venture with the Chicago-based investment firm WillJam Ventures to offer managed cybersecurity services to enterprises. AT&T will have an ownership stake and board representation in the new joint venture. The entity has not yet been named.
Recon Analytics analyst Roger Entner said the assets going into the JV were acquired by AT&T in 2018 as part of its purchase of AlienVault.
At close, the cybersecurity joint venture will offer select security software solutions, associated managed security operations and security consulting resources.
Entner said, “This type of managed security is a consulting business. While it made sense at the time to invest in it, AT&T is not a consulting firm. This is putting the right assets with the right people that can make this grow further.”
Of course, it’s nice to have an investor sharing in costs. And forming a JV still leaves AT&T with an equity stake.
Bob McCullen, managing partner of WillJam Ventures, stated, “Working together we’ll be uniquely positioned to protect organizations globally and WillJam Ventures is excited to extend our relationship with AT&T as its preferred cybersecurity provider for business customers going forward.”
A spokesperson said, “By standing up this separate business, we can continue offering managed security services, while simultaneously focusing on enhanced network-based security capabilities.”
To that point, AT&T will continue its in-house focus on network embedded security, which is a critical element of advanced networking. “AT&T is currently undergoing controlled introductions for new network-based products and will have more to share with the market soon,” said the spokesperson.
There will be some AT&T employees who move over to the JV, but the details have not been disclosed. AT&T expects the transaction to close in the first quarter of 2024.
This is the second announced JV for AT&T recently - the first being Gigapower.
Gigapower is a joint venture between AT&T and BlackRock, which is building open access fiber networks in the U.S.
In September, AT&T CFO Pascal Desroches said AT&T and Gigapower would apply for Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) funds, but he stressed the importance of targeting those funds in “areas that make sense for us.”