Arqit gets shareholders’ approval for quantum encryption deal

David Williams Arqit chairman.jpg

A company planning to build quantum-based symmetric encryption for the cloud has succeeded in a reverse takeover that will value it at US$1.4 billion.

Shareholders in Centricus, a Nasdaq-listed special-purpose vehicle, have voted to buy UK-based Arqit, founded by David Williams (pictured), who with his co-founders will own 45% of the business.

Williams said: “We are pleased to see the approval by Centricus shareholders of its business combination with Arqit, which once completed will provide significantly more capital than the business needs.”

The transaction is expected to be completed on Friday 3 September, and then the combined company will operate as Arqit. Its shares will be traded on Nasdaq under the new name from Tuesday 7 September (Monday is a US public holiday).

Williams said: “We now have everything we need to deliver the requirements of our rapidly growing customer base and to take the business to scale.”

Arqit’s priority is a quantum-based cloud encryption system, with a limited number of satellites, now under development, to deliver vital information to clients. In a recent interview with Capacity, Williams said that Arqit can deliver QuantumCloud keys in “unlimited group sizes”.

He said the system can deliver keys “to international telecoms networks, and we can change the key every second if we want.” That will result in ultra-secure software defined networks (SDNs).

Williams said after the Centricus vote, “the world needs stronger, simpler encryption, and customers in many sectors in the Americas, Europe and Asia have seen that QuantumCloud is the answer. We are now very focused on executing these contracts and gaining many more.”

Centricus said that “the addressable market for QuantumCloud is every connected device”, noting that Arqit’s product “enables any device to download a lightweight software agent of less than 200 lines of code, which can create keys in partnership with any other device”.

It explained: “The keys are computationally secure, don’t exist until the moment they are needed and can never be known by a third party. QuantumCloud can create limitless volumes of keys in limitless group sizes and can regulate the secure entrance and exit of a device in a group.”

In a statement, Centricus said: “Approximately 92% of the votes cast on the business combination proposal at the meeting, representing approximately 65% of Centricus’s outstanding shares, were in favour of approving the business combination proposal.”