Symantec Acquires PGP, GuardianEdge


Symantec is ramping up its encryption software portfolio with the acquisitions of PGP and GuardianEdge for $300 million and $70 million, respectively.

The deals, which are expected to close later this year, are the latest signs that Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC) executives believe that cloud-based storage and security options will be favored by enterprise customers in the future.

Both of the newly acquired companies specialize in applications that protect data from being either intentionally or accidentally exposed by encrypting the data itself, whether it's hosted on premises, distributed through the cloud or moved about on any number of portable devices, such as smartphones or USB drives.

"As information becomes increasingly mobile, it's essential to take an information-centric approach to security," Francis deSouza, senior vice president of Symantec's enterprise security group, said in a statement.

"With these acquisitions, we can further protect information by using encryption in an intelligent and policy-driven way to give the right users access to the right information, enabling the trust that individuals and organizations need to operate confidently in an information-driven world," he added.

Symantec shares fell $0.12, or less than 1 percent, to $17.24 in Thursday afternoon trading. Company officials expect the purchases to trim about $0.02 a share off its fiscal 2011 earnings before becoming accretive to its profits in fiscal 2012.

GuardianEdge specializes in endpoint data protection for laptops, desktops, portable storage devices and smartphones.

PGP, which is short for Pretty Good Privacy, was once owned and later spun off out of Symantec's chief rival McAfee (NYSE: MFE). The $300 million purchase gives Symantec access to more than 110,000 business and government customers using the PGP Encryption Platform suite for their e-mail and data encryption security needs.

Symantec said it will standardize its products on PGP's encryption key management platform to make it easier for administrators to centrally manage encryption tasks. That platform will be integrated into the Symantec Protection Center, the cornerstone management suite for its security applications.

The purchases mark Symantec's most significant additions since the acquisition of data loss prevention software vendor Vontu for $350 million in 2007.

IDC predicts the worldwide encryption software mark will eclipse $1.7 billion by 2013.

Larry Barrett is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.