Symantec Acquires SafeWeb
Today, Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC), a maker of antivirus and Internet security software, announced it has bought startup SafeWeb Inc. for $26 million in cash.
Symantec intends to offer the SafeWeb technology as a standalone product starting in the first quarter of next year. It plans to integrate the SSL VPN into its Gateway Security Appliance later in 2004.
SSL VPNs allow remote users secure access to corporate networks via a standard Web browser. The key benefit of the technology is that it doesn’t require a client to be downloaded, making access from laptops and other mobile devices much easier. By contrast, IPSec requires client software to be installed on every device accessing the corporate network.
SSL VPNs have recently become all the rage. NetScreen Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: NSCN) just two weeks ago announced it was buying Neoteris Inc. (see NetScreen Snags SSL Leader). NetScreen offered to pay $265 million in stock and cash for the startup, which Frost & Sullivan pegged as Number 1 in the SSL VPN category (see F&S: Neoteris Leads in SSL VPNs) -- which makes the SafeWeb deal look like a bargain.
Prior to its Neoteris acquisition, NetScreen had an interoperability and reseller relationship with SafeWeb, all pointing to a potential buyout (see SafeWeb Joins NetScreen Alliance).
"The company has some great people and good technology," says David Flynn, vice president of marketing for NetScreen. "But the product isn't mature. It still needs a lot of work. We considered acquiring them as a low-cost way to enter the market but decided we wanted to be more aggressive, so we went after Neoteris."
F5 Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: FFIV) also recently scooped up an SSL VPN startup in uRoam (see F5 Buys Into SSL VPNs).
Even with Neoteris, uRoam, and SafeWeb out of the running, there are still plenty of SSL startups in the market. Aventail Corp., PortWise AB, and Whale Communications Ltd. are just a few that are still independent.
PortWise, based in Europe, announced today that it has secured €8 million (US$9.3 million) in its Series B funding (see PortWise Pockets €8M Funding). The company, which claims to have 150 customers, will use the additional funds to expand its global presence. New investor Cazenove Private Equity led the round, with additional investment from Four Seasons Venture.
Symantec was trading up $0.5 (0.77%) to $65.45.
— Marguerite Reardon, Senior Editor, Light Reading