Symantec Wednesday signed an agreement to acquire anti-spam vendor Brightmail for $370 million to complement its lineup of gateway security software.
Symantec said that anti-spam technology is key to its product lineup because spam has become one of the most severe threats to individuals and enterprises today.
Brightmail uses multiple proprietary technologies, a globally deployed detection network, and a dynamic rule delivery mechanism to identify and filter unsolicited or unwanted electronic messages. In the month of April, Brightmail filtered 96 billion e-mail messages and reported that 64% of the e-mail that passed through its filters was spam.
The acquisition is the next step in an established partnership in that Brightmail already has integrated Symantec’s anti-virus technology into its infrastructure.
Brightmail’s technology is currently integrated with two anti-spam appliances from Borderware and IronPort and is used in hosted services offered by Critical Path, eDoxs and Syntegra. Symantec did not indicate how those contracts might change or whether they would be renewed.
“As IronPort's anti-spam partner, Brightmail is an important part of the IronPort product offering, and this new ownership only expands the possibilities for IronPort," says Tom Gillis, senior vice president of worldwide marketing for IronPort.
Symantec made a strategic investment in Brightmail in July 2000 and currently holds an approximately 11% equity stake in the company.
Just last month, Brightmail filed a registration statement for an initial public offering, but its board of directors and stockholders concluded the combination with Symantec was a more favorable strategic alternative.
Brightmail Chairman Eric W. Spivey, said in a prepared statement, “This is a tremendous win for Brightmail… The combination of the two companies will be an impressive force in the security space.”
The deal is expected to close in July.
Competitors say the acquisition validates the anti-spam market, but points to another trend.
“I think the acquisition was a smart move for Brightmail,” says Gary Steele, CEO of Proofpoint, which develops a gateway product called Protection Server. “The market has shifted from point anti-spam solutions to total message-protection solutions -- and that includes anti-spam, anti-virus, as well as outbound filtering and content compliance solutions. Brightmail only had an anti-spam story, so its days were numbered as a serious player.”