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NetScreen nets Neoteris for $265m

SSL VPN power play

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NetScreen Technologies today announced an agreement to acquire SSL VPN company Neoteris in a deal valued at $265 million.

The acquisition, for approximately $245 million in stock and $20 million in cash, represents the security industry's largest acquisition of a private company since May 2001.

The deal represents a further sign of consolidation in the hotly-tipped SSL VPN remote access market, following the purchase of smaller SSL Virtual Private Networks (VPN) firm uRoam by F5 Networks for $25 million back in July.

NetScreen, chief challenger along with Cisco to Check Point in the firewall market, said that the acquisition of Neoteris accelerates its ambition to become the number one provider of network security products.

Neoteris is one of the leading companies in the emerging "clientless” (SSL VPN) remote access market, which allow workers to securely access corporate resources via a standard Web browser.

Vendors are jockeying for position in a market segment which, although still small, is expected to grow strongly over the next three years.

Analysts Infonetics reckons the SSL-based remote access market will exceed $600 million (slightly lower than previous estimates) by 2006. The technology scores over earlier IPSec-based VPN technology by eliminating the need to install client software on worker's machines.

Upon close of the deal (expected by the end of 2003), Neoteris’ SSL VPN remote access products will join NetScreen’s portfolio of hardware-based network security products.

In addition to its SSL VPN technology, Neoteris’ application security gateways will bring to NetScreen’s portfolio new access management functionality, including the ability to implement forms and header-based Web single sign-on (SSO), password management integration and cross-enterprise online meeting functionality.

NetScreen said Neoteris’ technology and expertise will help it to "accelerate the integration of application-level security into the network infrastructure". ®

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