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It's a post-Sony hack world as Blue Coat sells for $2.4 BILLION

VC giant Bain to acquire firm whose kit 'censored Syrian web'

Blue Coat Systems is to be acquired by Bain Capital in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $2.4bn, possibly preparing the company to go public again following its capture by Thoma Bravo for $1.3bn in 2012.

Blue Coat, declaring “strong market share and revenue growth” of late, focuses upon providing network and information security products. It claims 80 per cent of the Fortune 500 are customers, and says it offers them advanced threat defence, security analytics and encrypted traffic management.

“The acquisition by Bain Capital sets us on the trajectory to further grow our portfolio, better serve our customers and help us prepare to return to the public markets,” said Gregory S Clark, Blue Coat's CEO.

David Humphrey, a managing director at Bain Capital, said: “Cyber-security is an increasingly critical issue for enterprises and governments worldwide. We believe Blue Coat is poised to benefit from growth in its existing products, including cloud-based and advanced threat solutions, the development of new products and through further add-on acquisitions.”

The applicability of Blue Coat's products has previously landed it in hot water. In 2011, “hacktivist” group Telecomix dumped 54GB of log data revealing that Blue Coat products were being used by Bashar al-Assad's government in Syria during the Arab Spring, despite US export controls.

The firm later admitted gear it had believed to be destined for Iraq had instead been used to censor Syria's web.

The Office of Congressional and Public Affairs of Industry and Security accepted a $2.8m civil penalty from UAE-based distributor Computerlinks FZCO following allegations related to the transfer of the kit to the Syrian government. In 2013 the Washington Post reported that Blue Coat products had also been detected in Iran and Sudan.

Blue Coat states it does not condone any use of its products to abuse internet privacy or freedom of expression and introduced a Public Internet Access Policy several months ago in an attempt to prevent such abuses.

We contacted Blue Coat for additional comment on security collaboration between industry and government but did not receive a response before publication.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including requisite regulatory approvals, but is expected to close during the first half of 2015. ®


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