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Cisco borgs Securent for $100m

And sprays China with cash

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Cisco is dipping into loose change to buy Securent, a Silicon Valley data security startup, for $100m cash.

Securent makes software for companies to restrict user access to data on a network, helping prevent sensitive information from falling into nefarious hands.

The firm has 57 employees in Mountain View, California, with R&D in Hyderbad, India. Cisco will pay about $100m in cash and assumed options. The staff and technology will be assimilated into Cisco's Collaborative Software Group.

Their flagship software is Securent Entitlement Management Solution, which uses SQL agents as bouncers on Oracle databases or Sharepoint servers. The software intercepts requests before it reaches a database, and restricts what can come out based on the user.

Securent is Cisco's twelfth acquisition this year, and 125th in toto. It's the second security firm purchase by Cisco this year, since it announced intentions to acquire IronPort, an email filtering and web security firm for $830m.

Cisco expects the deal to close in the second quarter of its fiscal year 2008.

Cisco borgs China

Cisco said today it plans to spend $16bn in China over the next five years, nearly double the $8.5bn it has invested in China since 2002.

The money will go towards parts procurement, education, joint ventures and establishing a "green technology" center.

"Cisco has made significant investments in our China business since we established operations in the country in 1994, and this program will lay the foundation for the next chapter in Cisco's development in China," Cisco CEO John Chambers said today at a press conference in Beijing.

He gave a broad outline of the program, which will include significant investments in "Web 2.0" technologies through cooperation with Alibaba, China's largest ecommerce site. Cisco has previously agreed to buy a $17.5m stake in Alibaba, which will be valued at $8.8bn when it makes debut on the Hong Kong stock exchange next week.

The investment also includes an increase in local procurement of parts as well as increased funding for Cisco Systems Capital China, which provides credit for customers.

China provides ample opportunities for Cisco, housing the second-largest market for internet users after the US. However, the company has taken heat from some human rights organizations, which say the Chinese government uses Cisco gear to censor the internet and limit political dissidence. ®

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