Symantec to Acquire Brightmail

Symantec has signed an agreement to acquire anti-spam software company Brightmail in a cash transaction valued at about $370 million. The deal, conditional upon regulatory approval, comes less than two months after Brightmail’s filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission in preparation for an initial public offering of stock. The deal is expected to close by early July.

Brightmail said its anti-spam technology would be “a key complement” to Symantec’s gateway security solutions, which include anti-virus offerings. Brightmail’s software filters spam for clients including Fortune 500 customers and major ISPs. The company claims to effectively filter email through a variety of approaches, and to block less than one legitimate email in a million.

The companies already have a degree of integration. Brightmail Anti-Virus uses Symantec’s anti-virus technology. Symantec made an investment in Brightmail in July, 2000 and currently holds an approximate 11 percent equity stake in the company.

“Subsequent to the filing of a registration statement in March 2004 for an initial public offering, Brightmail’s board of directors and stockholders determined the combination with Symantec to be a more favorable strategic alternative,” Brightmail said in a statement.

“It’s been amazing to watch this company grow up and evolve into the technology it has,” said Ray Everett-Church, anti-spam expert and chief privacy officer of TurnTide. “In some respects, it is a recognition of just how huge the anti-spam technology marketplace has grown to become and that companies with innovative approaches can command really significant value.”

Ken Schneider, Brightmail CTO and VP operations, has said his company processes something in the neighborhood of 3 to 4 billion emails a day. The company’s customers have over 300 million mailboxes, according to Schneider. Customers include some 15 of the 20 major ISPs in the United States including Hotmail and ATT Worldnet, as well as over 75 Fortune 500 customers.

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