Symantec buys crypto firms PGP and GuardianEdge

The acquisition of the encryption companies will lead to product integration and some job losses, according to Symantec

Symantec is buying encryption vendors PGP and GuardianEdge Technologies to boost its lineup, the company announced on Thursday.

The security company plans to integrate encryption products from PGP and GuardianEdge into its data loss prevention suite and endpoint protection products, said Symantec enterprise security group vice president Francis deSouza.

"The two acquisitions will give us a market-leading position in the $1.4bn per year encryption business," deSouza told ZDNet UK. "At Symantec, we're focused on making data protection easier to manage, and these acquisitions represent a big step forward."

The company will pay $300m (£196m) in cash for PGP and $70m in cash for GuardianEdge, subject to approval from US and German antitrust bodies. Symantec expects to gain the regulatory approval this quarter, said deSouza.

Many PGP and GuardianEdge products overlap. PGP's product portfolio includes disk encryption, email protection, file and server encryption, and authentication. GuardianEdge offers hard disk encryption and authentication, as well as storage encryption and smartphone protection. Symantec already sells endpoint encryption and hosted email encryption.

Symantec plans to integrate PGP key management across all of the encryption products and services it has acquired. Eventually, all of Symantec's protection products will incorporate encryption, said deSouza.

The takeover may lead to job losses, deSouza acknowledged. However, he said he expected most of the staff at the acquired companies and Symantec to keep their posts.

"We are in a planning process at the moment for integration," he said. "Our expectation is that the bulk of the existing staff will come to Symantec."

The PGP and GuardianEdge brands will remain, but not necessarily as separate business units. Symantec has been in partnership separately with both companies for a number of years, but the possibility of acquisition was first discussed last quarter, according to deSouza. In January, Symantec reported third-quarter revenue of $1.55bn, amid financial results described by the company's chief executive Enrique Salem as "surprisingly good".

Symantec bought email security company MessageLabs in 2008.