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Symantec buys PGP and GuardianEdge too

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Symantec has announced a surprise deal to buy both email and data encryption firms PGP Corporation and GuardianEdge Technologies for a combined total of $370m in cash.

The security giant is paying $300m for PGP and $70m for GuardianEdge as part of deals announced on Thursday and expected to close in June. Both agreements are subject to regulatory approval. Each of the acquisition targets are privately held.

In a statement, Symantec said that encryption technology was key to preventing increasingly frequent and costly data breaches as well as complying with regulatory controls, such as the UK's data protection laws. The proposed deals allow Symantec to offer full-disk, email and mobile encryption products alongside its traditional line of security suites.

Post acquisition, Symantec plans to standardise on the PGP key management platform in order to deliver centralised policy and key management across a suite of encryption products and services. Symantec also intends to integrate the PGP key management platform into the Symantec Protection Center, providing a common dashboard for encryption, endpoint security, data loss prevention and gateway security products.

Symantec is well known for its history of frequent acquisitions. most notably its $13.5bn acquisition of storage software firm Veritas in 2005.

PGP's encryption technology was previously owned by Symantec's arch-rival McAfee (then called Network Associates), where its technology languished for some years prior to a buy-out in 2002. Earlier this week McAfee shares rose on rumours that HP was contemplating an acquisition.

As the IT security industry begins to recover from the credit crunch an increase in the frequency of mergers and acquisitions is likely to follow, providing patterns from the dot-com bust and previous economic slowdowns are repeated. ®

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