McAfee To Acquire Data-Encryption Vendor SafeBoot - InformationWeek

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Software // Information Management

McAfee To Acquire Data-Encryption Vendor SafeBoot

SafeBoot's Data Protection Suite lets users encrypt individual files and folders, as well as entire local hard drives.

Security software vendor McAfee on Monday said it has agreed to buy SafeBoot, a maker of enterprise data-encryption technology, for $350 million in cash.

If the deal closes as expected in the fourth quarter, McAfee said it will combine its technology with SafeBoot's to form the foundation of a new data protection business unit headed by SafeBoot chief executive Gerhard Watzinger, who would report to McAfee CEO Dave DeWalt. The transaction is expected to be dilutive to McAfee's 2008 GAAP earnings per share and neutral to non-GAAP EPS.

"The new product business unit will build on both companies' data protection offerings, helping us integrate and deliver market leading new solutions for data protection," DeWalt said in a joint statement with Watziner.

Privately owned SafeBoot has more than 4,200 customers, including more than 150 listed in the Fortune 500, the companies said. SafeBoot has 47% of its customers in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia; 29% in North America; and 23% in Asia Pacific.

SafeBoot's Data Protection Suite lets users encrypt individual files and folders, as well as entire local hard drives, to protect data during distribution to mobile devices, such as laptops, smartphones, USB drives, and handheld computers. SafeBoot software also can encrypt files severs to secure confidential files as they move throughout an organization.

McAfee said it plans to integrate SafeBoot's products in its ePolicy Orchestrator, which is McAfee's centralized management console for enterprise security.

SafeBoot CEO Watzinger said combining his company's technology with McAfee's resources would "help our customers address the complex challenges of managing their data security, and position both companies to capture new opportunities in our rapidly growing markets."

McAfee said it would pursue SafeBoot's "significant and untapped" opportunities in the small- and midsize-business and consumer markets, while offering SafeBoot customers the option of integrating McAfee products into their security software.

Perhaps it was a hint of his company's future plans when DeWalt in May told an audience at the Interop show in Las Vegas that the company mainly known for antivirus software was poised to tackle the costly problem of data loss. Acknowledging that data loss has reached epidemic proportions, DeWalt, then the new president and CEO of McAfee, said taking on the growing problem is going to be a "killer opportunity" for the security company.

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