ISS buys Cobion for €26m

Anti-spam play

Internet Security Systems today bought content filtering firm Cobion AG for €26 million in cash.

The acquisition will enable ISS to deliver Cobion's content filtering and anti-spam technology either as a stand-alone product or as a component of ISS' Proventia all-in-one protection appliance.

Content security will be added to ISS' Proventia M all-in-one protection appliances in the second quarter of 2004, adding to existing firewall, anti-virus, intrusion prevention and Virtual Private Networking technology within the product. The security tools vendor is deferring talk of the financial impact of the deal until it publishes in quarterly results, on January 28.

The deal is another sign of mainstream security companies moving into the potentially lucrative anti-spam market. Last September Sophos acquired anti-spam developer ActiveState in a $23 million all-cash deal, whilst Network Associates and Symantec have each been eying the anti-spam market for future growth. Numerous smaller security appliance vendors have also been edging themselves into the crowded anti-spam marketplace.

According to IDC, demand for content security will exceed $1.5 billion in 2006, representing the fastest-growing sector of the information security market. ®

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