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Symantec seeks cloud boost in MessageLabs

Acquisition of messaging and Web security specialist for US$695 million is expected to enhance Symantec's security offerings in the cloud.
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Written by Vivian Yeo on

Symantec has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire U.K. online messaging security specialist, MessageLabs, in a bid to boost its online security portfolio.

The security giant will fork out US$695 million for the deal, according to a company statement Thursday. The acquisition is expected to be completed by year-end.

Cupertino, Calif.-based Symantec said the deal will allow the company to cross-sell and up-sell its existing SaaS (software-as-a-service) offerings, which encompasses backup, storage and online remote access to the MessageLabs customer base of over 8 million users, from over 19,000 clients.

"MessageLabs extends our investments in the SaaS segment, and will allow us to offer our customers unprecedented choice from a single provider of message security solutions," John Thompson, Symantec's chairman and CEO, said in the statement. "By combining MessageLabs with our Symantec Protection Network team, we have one of the strongest portfolios of cloud-based infrastructure services and a great foundation on which to grow."

A new SaaS product group will be created from MessageLabs and the Symantec Protection Network, according to Symantec.

In recent years, the security vendor has made several acquisitions to bolster its portfolio of products, including Altiris and Vontu in 2007, and more recently, Australia-based PC Tools.

Analyst: Good fit
Graham Titterington, principal analyst at Ovum, described the marriage of Symantec and MessageLabs as complementary. "SaaS is growing in popularity and messaging is a strong candidate for delivery using this model as a large proportion of the traffic is external to the enterprise," he said in an e-mail to ZDNet Asia.

"A services organization has the ability to monitor threats in the outside world and react immediately to protect its customers. Symantec wants to grow its services operation and will find MessageLabs a good vehicle to drive this ambition forward," the analyst added.

As Symantec's current offering is based on the BrightMail appliance located within client premises, with the acquisition, it will now be able to offer customers a choice of product-based and SaaS approaches, Titterington pointed out.

MessageLabs' breadth of operations, supported by presence in 86 countries--with highest volumes from the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region--is also attractive to Symantec, he added.

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