Symantec Bags BindView

Security vendor's spending spree continues as it snaps up BindView for $209 million

October 4, 2005

4 Min Read
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Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC) opened its wallet again today, stumping up $209 million for publicly traded compliance specialist BindView Development Corp. (Nasdaq: BVEW). (See Symantec Acquires BindView.)

The move comes less than two weeks after the security giant snapped up WholeSecurity Inc. for an undisclosed fee. (See Symantec Acquires WholeSecurity.) This, in turn, came hot on the heels of Symantecs acquisition of Sygate Technologies Inc. Did we neglect to mention the $13.5 billion deal for storage specialist Veritas Software Corp. (Nasdaq: VRTS)? (See Symantec Strolls Off With Sygate and Symantec, Veritas Complete Merger.)

In all, analyst estimates put Symantec's bill for recent acquisitions somewhere north of $1.5 billion -- all aimed at building out a multipronged security strategy. Sygate focuses on Network Admission Control (NAC), for instance, while WholeSecurity targets phishing.

The BindView deal is geared toward helping users meet regulatory demands. As users, particularly in the financial sector, face a bewildering array of compliance regulations such as Sarbanes Oxley, the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), and Basel II, there is a need for specialist software to coordinate security policies across a range of IT systems (see Sort Out Your Sox).

Symantec already offers a range of compliance software, but there is a major difference between its approach and BindView’s. Whereas Symantec’s products rely on the installation of a software agent on specific devices, such as servers and desktops, BindView’s do not.This could be a shrewd move. Installing agents (and removing them) on different pieces of hardware can place a strain on users’ IT staff, particularly in major corporations with thousands of pieces of kit. With many firms looking to keep their IT headcounts as low as possible, CIOs often look favorably on technologies that require little effort to deploy.

In the future, Symantec says it will offer users a choice of both agent-based and agent-less technologies.

Symantec’s acquisition of BindView is also timed to exploit other user trends. There is a feeling in some quarters that businesses are actually shifting their spending away from traditional security products towards Sarbanes Oxley compliance. (See SOX Spending Slams Security.)

The Sarbanes Oxley Act, passed in response to the scandals at Enron, WorldCom, et al, requires company managers to attest that they have established and maintain internal control over their company’s financial reporting.

In many respects, SOX compliance is still in the early days. Although the deadline has already kicked in for America’s largest firms, earlier this year the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) threw a lifeline to what are known as non-accelerated filers (firms with a market cap of less than $75 million). These businesses must now comply for their first fiscal year ending on or after July 15, 2006, a one-year extension on the previous deadline (see SEC Extends Sarbanes Compliance ).These are the firms in Symantec's sights, the ones it hopes to address with Bindview.

Symantec is also getting its paws on BindView’s 5,000-strong customer base. To date, the vendor has sold more than 20 million licenses for its software. BindView also overhauled its flagship offering, Compliance Center, earlier this year,adding support for Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL) databases to Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) Windows, Unix, Linux, and NetWare.

But the security giant has not revealed its plans for BindView’s workforce of over 550 employees. "We don't have exact plans yet," Rowan Trollope, vice president of Symantec's management products business unit, told NDCF. However, Arshad Matin, BindView's president and COO added that he expects some "rationalization," particularly in areas where there is overlap, such as General and Expense (G&A).

Matin also confirmed that Eric Pulaski, BindView's CEO and founder, "will stay on for a period of time as senior adviser." For his part, Matin is slated to take over a new business unit, which includes Symantec's Enterprise Security Manager (ESM) compliance product, as well as BindView's offerings.

But, is Symantec worried about integrating this slew of acquistions? Not particularly, according to Trollope. "It's a big company and we're experienced at doing this," he says.In early trading today, shares of Symantec rose 11 cents (0.49 percent) to $22.77. BindView shares were up 37 cents (10.57 percent) to $3.87.

The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of 2006.

— James Rogers, Site Editor, Next-Gen Data Center Forum

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