UPDATE 1-Thales to buy nCipher for 50.7 mln stg

(Adds NCipher CEO comment from interview)

LONDON, July 11 (Reuters) - French defence electronics company Thales TCFP.PA is to buy British data security firm nCipher Plc NCH.L for 50.7 million pounds ($100 million) to boost its information security business.

The offer is worth 300 pence cash per nCipher share, a 138 percent premium to its closing price on April 10, the last business day before nCipher announced it had received an approach, Thales said on Friday.

NCipher shares were up 10.7 per cent at 285 pence by 0755 GMT. Thales was up 1.6 percent at 36.6 euros.

NCipher Chief Executive Geoffrey Finlay said Thales had seen off two rival bid approaches. He declined to say who made the approaches, but stressed that all takeover interest in the company was unsolicited.

“We categorically were not looking for a buyer. We had a three-year plan which was announced in February, and I think that attracted (Thales’) attention,” he told Reuters.

“The fact that they’re paying three pounds per share on a pre-interest price of 1.20 pounds or so shows they are buying value rather than opportunistic shopping.”

NCipher will continue to operate under its own brand name as part of Thales’s data-security division, Finlay said.

Thales said nCipher investors holding 35.9 per cent of the company’s shares had indicated they support the takeover.

These include Hermes Focus Asset Management and Legal & General Investment Management, nCipher’s biggest shareholders with stakes of 24.5 per cent and 12 per cent respectively.

Thales and nCipher aim to complete the acquisition by mid-October, Finlay said. (Reporting by Dan Lalor; Additional reporting by Myles Neligan; Editing by Quentin Bryar)


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