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Quick Takes on McAfee’s Acquisition of Stonesoft

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Big news from McAfee on Monday, acquiring Stonesoft for $389M in cash – a whopping 128% premium on Stonesoft’s closing price last Friday. It’s not often that a firewall vendor gets acquired – here are my quick takes on the acquisition:

  • Technology – Probably the #1 reason for this acquisition. The firewall market has been extremely dynamic in recent years. Advanced capabilities often touted as “next-generation” such as application control, user identity and advanced malware detection/prevention are being adopted at a fast rate. The larger vendors naturally gravitate to buying versus building in order to remain competitive.
  • Long Live the Perimeter – The acquisition strengthens McAfee’s network security play – and it’s no secret that a fast-growing mobile device market and a declining PC market does not spell good news for McAfee’s core desktop security business.
  • Across the Atlantic – Stonesoft has carved out a good niche and enjoys a good brand in the European market which can complement McAfee’s stronger presence in the US market. McAfee’s distribution should bolster Stonesoft’s US Sales, which can explain the high premium of this acquisition.
  • Enterprise – Stonesoft’s technology should make McAfee a more formidable player when it comes to enterprise-grade network security.

So what next? Looking ahead, it will be interesting to see if McAfee to integrates Stonesoft’s technology into its Firewall Enterprise offering (which is itself based on the SideWinder product from the Secure Computing acquisition) or if it maintains two firewall flavors (Did anybody say Netscreen/SRX?). One thing is certain – the network security market is continuing to change and evolve. Rest assured we will be on the lookout to help you do the best job managing your security policy.

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