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Symantec acquires Brightmail for $370m

Hybrid defences, market dominance play

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Symantec is to buy email filter firm Brightmail for approx. $370m cash. It is to integrate Brightmail's anti-spam software into its own line of gateway appliances to create hybrid defences against junk mail and viruses.

The two firms are already partners, with Brightmail using Symantec anti-virus software for its service and Symantec the owner of an 11 per cent stake in the company. Brightmail filed an registration statement in March 2004 in preparation for an initial public offering, but its board of directors has now decided that Symantec offer is a better option.

Brightmail's anti-spam technology protects the networks of enterprises and service providers by filtering spam, viruses and undesired messages at the Internet gateway. Brightmail Anti-Spam uses multiple proprietary technologies, a globally deployed detection network, and a dynamic rule delivery mechanism to identify and filter out junk mail while promising to minimise the number of blocked legitimate emails, or false positives, to less than one message in a million.

Brightmail says its technology protects approximately 300 million mailboxes worldwide. Customers include eBay, Cisco Systems, Deutsche Bank, Microsoft and Terra Lycos. It also provides spam protection for the leading Internet service providers, including AT&T WorldNet, EarthLink, MSN and Verizon Online.

The acquisition is expected to close by early July and is subject to the usual regulatory approvals. ®

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