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Symantec to acquire VeriSign’s security business

Following the close of the transaction, Symantec plans to incorporate VeriSign's check mark into a new company logo

Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC) announced yesterday that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Verisign‘s security business.

The agreement would mean that Symantec would acquire VeriSign’s identity and authentication business, which includes the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate Services, the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) Services, VeriSign Trust Services and VeriSign’s Identity Protection (VIP) Authentication Service.

Just last month, Symantec announced that it planned purchase two encryption companies, PGP and GuardianEdge, at a total price of $370M in cash. These acquisitions are expected to close during the June quarter, pending customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

Under the agreement to acquire VeriSign, Symantec will purchase specific business units, which also includes the majority stake in VeriSign Japan, at a cash purchase price of about $1.28B.

Toronto-based James Quin, lead research analyst for risk management at Info-Tech Research Group, said that with yesterday’s news, this is the second time a “big” part of VerSign’s business has been sold. Last year, Quin said VeriSign sold its managed services business to SecureWorks. Now with the pending sale with Symantec, Quin wonders “what’s left in the VeriSign office.”

“This is huge news because it grows (Symantec) in an area that they didn’t necessarily have a huge footprint in with the SSL certificate piece,” Quin said. “This also allows for greater synergies with Symantec’s other core products and will make it a stronger brand by radically expanding their portfolio.”

During a conference call with the press yesterday afternoon, Francis deSouza, senior vice-president of Symantec’s Enterprise Security Group, said that roughly 900 of VeriSign’s 2,200 employees will move over to Symantec. “The intent is to have the majority of the team move over (to Symantec),” deSouza said.

As a result of the impending acquisition, Symantec has also devised a new vision for computing, which includes a focus around, identity security, mobile and other device security, information protection, context and relevance, and cloud security.

DeSouza said that the acquisition of VeriSign’s identity and authentication business will enable more cross-sell opportunities for the company and its network of global channel partners.

“Partners can sell a broader portfolio to their customers to meet more of their customer security needs,” he said. “Partners can win larger deals this way and they can establish a more strategic and sticky relationship with their customers.”

Enrique Salem, president and CEO of Symantec, said due to the evolution of the threat landscape and the Web, organizations are challenged with maintaining confidence when it comes to online transactions and interactions.

“People’s personal and professional lives have converged and they want to use their various digital devices to access information wherever they are without jeopardizing their privacy,” Salem explained. “With the combined products and reach from Symantec and VeriSign, we are poised to drive the adoption of identity security as the means to provide simple and secure access to anything from anywhere, to prevent identity fraud and to make online experiences more user-friendly and hassle-free.”

The VeriSign check mark validates the authenticity of Web sites and lets users know that any sensitive information they share with the site is encrypted during online transactions. This, combined with Symantec’s existing security technologies and products, will enable businesses to have a high-level of security, while at the same time, assuring users that their information is safe and secure.

With VeriSign’s Identity Protection (VIP) service, coupled with Symantec’s Norton-branded consumer products, organizations can now confirm the true identities of customers and employees that are trying to access certain information.

The VeriSign technologies will also integrate well with Symantec’s Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solutions and Data Insight technology to enable users to have more visibility and security when it comes to working with information.

The definitive agreement is subject to closing conditions, which also include regulatory approvals. The transaction is expected to close in the September quarter this year.

After the transaction is complete, Symantec plans to incorporate the VeriSign check mark into a new Symantec logo.

Quin said the uniting of both Symantec and VeriSign is a smart move for the security vendors to make.

“The VeriSign check mark is really something that’s quite recognizable,” he said. “This will create more lines of business because this is a brand that consumers are already relatively familiar with.”

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