Orange has revealed it is in exclusive talks to acquire France-based IT security firm Lexsi.

The operator is discussing a deal with the company’s private equity owners Argos Soditic.

Orange said it hopes to complete a deal in the second quarter.

It plans to add Lexsi to Orange Cyberdefense, the IT security services subsidiary of its enterprise arm Orange Business Services.

Lexsi, which has revenues of $26 million, provides auditing, consulting, incident response and training services.

Its Threat Defense Centre, for example, scans the web and dark web to prevent hacks, detect data leaks and prevent fraud.

The company also has the largest independent Computer Emergency Response Team in Europe.

Founded in 1999, it has over 500 customers and employs over 200 staff.

[Read more: Why security-as-a-service could be the next big thing for CSPs]

As his business recorded 40 percent growth in sales of security-related services during the third quarter last year, OBS Chief Executive Thierry Bonhomme said it was “a race” to keep up with hackers.

“In cyber defence you have to continually invest in innovation,” he said.

OBS saw revenues decline slightly for the full financial year, but said sales of security services rose 14 percent.

In a statement, Orange said: The [Lexsi] acquisition would represent a new milestone in the development of Orange Cyberdefense, bringing additional expertise and capabilities to its portfolio and strengthening its position as the IT security services leader in France and a leading player in Europe.”

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