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SonicWALL tags Aventail

Joins SSL VPN party

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Security appliance firm SonicWALL has agreed to buy SSL VPN remote access supplier Aventail in a deal valued at $25m cash.

The deal is expect to close in July and to have no bearing on SonicWALL's Q2 revenues, which the firm continues to expect will fall somewhere between $45m and $47m, made up of sales of firewall, UTM, censorware, and other security technology.

SonicWALL's existing portfolio already includes IPSec-based VPNs so adding SSL VPNs to the mix makes sense. SSL VPN appliances, as supplied from Aventail and Juniper, allow firms to offer remote access to workers without installing client software on PCs. Users log through a web interface to get access to corporate applications.

Aventail, Netilla Networks, and Neoteris were among the pioneers of the sector which first rose to prominence about five years ago. NetScreen bought Neoteris for $265m in October 2003 ($245 stock and $20 in cash), seemingly paying well over the odds in the process. Perhaps NetScreen was fattening itself up ahead of its $3.4bn acquisition by Juniper in February 2004?

Other mainstream security firms who bought into the market paid far less than NetScreen/Juniper. Symantec bought Safeweb for $26m in October 2003 and F5 tagged uRoam for $25m in July 2003. Server-based computing firm Citrix bought SSL VPN vendor Net6 for approximately $50m cash in November 2004. Microsoft bought Whale, another SSL VPN firm, in May 2006. ®

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