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Symantec picks up VeriSign's security unit, makes identity management play

Symantec is buying VeriSign's identity and authentication unit to fill out its product lineup and better target enterprise customers.

Symantec said Wednesday that it will acquire VeriSign's security business for $1.28 billion in a move that gives the company an even larger footprint.

Specifically, Symantec is acquiring VeriSign's identity and authentication business (statement). That unit includes Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate, public key infrastructure (PKI) and identity protection and authentication services.

Symantec said it will fold VeriSign's security products, known primarily online, into its own roadmap and sales channel. VeriSign's authentication business will reside in Symantec's enterprise security group.

Enrique Salem, CEO of Symantec, said in a statement:

IT is faced with the challenge of giving users the appropriate access, while ensuring that corporate data is not at risk. We believe the solution to this dilemma lies in the ubiquity of identity-based security.

In a nutshell, you can expect Symantec to start offering identity security services throughout the device and PC food chain. Symantec sees identity as the linchpin and middle layer to bridge its security product lineup.

Here's a look at how Symantec sees the VeriSign business coming together:

The company said the VeriSign purchase will result in a 9 cents a share hit to non-GAAP earnings in fiscal 2011.

Related: Symantec gains amid McAfee's pain