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Blue Coat to be Acquired by Symantec for $4.65BN

Symantec has announced plans to acquire Blue Coat Systems for a price of $4.65 billion.

The web and cloud security vendor will become part of Symantec, with Blue Coat CEO Greg Clark set to be appointed Chief Executive Officer of Symantec and join the Symantec Board upon closing of the transaction, replacing Michael Brown who is stepping down.

The integration of the two companies will be led by executives from both Symantec and Blue Coat, with integration planning to begin immediately. The combined company will combine Symantec’s threat telemetry with Blue Coat’s networks and cloud security offerings to provide differentiated security solutions across hundreds of millions of endpoints and servers, and billions of email and web transactions.

“Together, we will be best positioned to address the ever-evolving threat landscape, the massive changes introduced by the shift to mobile and cloud, and the challenges created by regulatory and privacy concerns,” said Dan Schulman, Chairman of Symantec.

“Greg and the entire Blue Coat leadership team have done an exceptional job of strengthening, growing and scaling their business. In addition to a proven track record of delivering scale and profitable growth, Greg brings significant leadership experience, deep security expertise and a history of successfully integrating companies into a single portfolio; he is the right person to lead Symantec as we advance our position as the leader in cybersecurity.”

Clark said: “With employees of Blue Coat and Symantec coming together, we will be well positioned to drive meaningful growth and push the boundaries of innovation. I am very excited about the opportunity to join Symantec as CEO and look forward to working with the strongest, deepest team in security to realize the many strategic and financial benefits this transaction will create.”

In an email to Infosecurity, Bob Tarzey, analyst and director at Quocirca, said: “Blue Coat was certainly on rapid expansion curve under the ownership of Bain Capital which it acquired from Toma Bravo in May 2015 for $2.4B. The rumour was this would lead to an IPO, however, it would seem the $4.65B offer from Symantec was one Bain couldn’t refuse.

“The technologies do complement each other; Blue Coat being mainly network focussed whilst Symantec’s technologies are mainly host-based. Blue Coat has also invested a lot in extending its technologies from appliances to cloud where Symantec has been flagging.

“For Symantec the acquisition plugs a gap that it will hope keeps it in the race with the likes of Intel Security and Trend Micro (which last year acquired Tipping Point from HP, to strengthen its own network security position).”

Recently, Symantec issued Blue Coat an SSL certificate making Blue Coat an intermediate certificate authority, backed by root certificate authority Symantec in September.

Scott Crawford, research director of the Enterprise Security Practise at 451 Research, called this “pretty substantial course change” considering that Blue Coat had filed its paperwork for its IPO less than two weeks ago.

“The deal answers a number of questions about Symantec’s future,” he told Infosecurity. “The bulk of Symantec’s assets are in legacy IT security. To compete in a number of emerging aspects of security, it would have to embrace a number of new capabilities from the endpoint to the cloud. It’s the cloud where this deal is the most provocative, however. Blue Coat’s long-established proxy business has given it a solid footing from which to attack some of the more fundamental transformations that are reshaping IT security.

“As major cloud providers take on more of the role of enterprise security and integrate them directly into their architectures, bridging the enterprise with the cloud becomes a significant aspect of emerging opportunities. Today, Cloud Application Control and Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASB) are the most visible bridgehead of that trend, and with assets such as Elastica in the Blue Coat portfolio, it gives Symantec a much more solid footing for shaping its future.”

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