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Symantec to Announce Purchase of DLP Vendor Vontu

Deal could seal the role of big AV vendors in DLP space

The rumors have been swirling for some time that Symantec had been courting Vontu, but now industry reports as well as industry sources close to the deal say a Symantec acquisition of the data leakage prevention company is now official and could be announced today.

Symantec currently licenses Vontu's DLP products, so the possibility of an acquisition doesn't come as a big surprise. And it's likely that McAfee's announcement last week that it had purchased SafeBoot, which sells encryption and access control for mobile devices, helped nudge Symantec into finalizing the deal with Vontu, industry sources say. McAfee last year purchased DLP vendor Onigma.

But there's a bigger message here. "Now the giants of anti-malware are saying 'this ADL [anti-data leakage] is our problem,' " says Nick Selby, director of the enterprise security practice at The 451 Group.

Selby says the two vendors' products are a natural fit. "This would be a smart acquisition from several standpoints. It's a natural extension of Symantec's email gateway products, providing Symantec with a good, easy-to-demo upsell to existing customers... and an attractive option for new ones."

And for customers, it would provide a more stable ADL market option, he says. "We counted more than 40 ADL vendors as recently as the end of 2006. That is by any stretch of the imagination unsustainable," Selby says. With Symantec entering the market, customers could "buy ADL from a company that is likely to survive the next 36 months."

Integrating the two product lines should be simple at the email gateway given their previous relationship, he says, but it would be trickier for Symantec to integrate the Vontu agent with Hamlet. Hamlet is the code name for Symantec's recently announced Symantec Endpoint Protection 11.0 client software.

According to an InfoWorld report, Symantec is paying somewhere between $300 million and $350 million for Vontu. Vontu's revenues were estimated to be around $30 million.

"The price we've heard Symantec paid is indicative of the fact that, even if Symantec was pressured to pull the trigger because of the McAfee-SafeBoot purchase, this would be a strategic acquisition that Symantec has considered for some time," Selby says.

A Symantec spokesperson said Symantec doesn't comment on speculation.

— Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading

  • Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC)
  • Vontu Inc.
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