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SurfControl snaps up BlackSpider

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UK-based net security firm SurfControl has bought email filtering firm BlackSpider for around £20m plus an agreement to take on £1.2m in short-term debts.

SurfControl said the deal would allow it to add an on-demand email and web security service to its portfolio. BlackSpider said the agreement will help the sale of its services beyond its client base in Europe, into regions such as the US and Asia Pacific.

SurfControl is best known for its URL filtering technology but it also plays in the anti-spam and anti-virus markets. The BlackSpider deal allows SurfControl to add on-demand security services and appliance technology to its existing client-based software technology.

BlackSpider competes with firms such as MessageLabs and Postini in offering on-demand security services in the network or "cloud". Its services protect organisations from email and web-based threats, such as spam, viruses, spyware, phishing/pharming attacks and inappropriate content before they reach corporate networks. BlackSpider also sells services that allow firms to control employee web access and encrypt email for secure communications. It has 1,200 customers including O2, LogicaCMG, Johnson Matthey and Panasonic.

For the year ending 30 June, BlackSpider's un-audited revenues came in at £4m and its pre-tax loss was £3.3m. SurfControl said it expects to reduce BlackSpider's pre-tax losses over time to the point where it makes a positive contribution to cash flow and profits by the end of its current tax year (Q407).

In a trading update, SurfControl said trading in its Q406 had progressed well, with bookings up five per cent. The firm expects to report revenue and profits in line with previous guidance when it announces its results in September this year. ®

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