Symantec to buy DLP specialist Vontu

Symantec's buyout could happen as early as next week as the security giant tries to gain a foothold in the red-hot data leakage prevention market

Security software giant Symantec is preparing to announce an acquisition of Vontu, one the largest remaining independent providers of data leakage prevention software, which is used to control the flow of sensitive information across corporate networks.

Multiple industry sources have confirmed to InfoWorld that Symantec will soon announce a buyout of Vontu, perhaps as early as next week, which will significantly further the trend of consolidation that has played-out in the red-hot DLP (data leakage prevention) space over the last year.

The deal also gives Symantec a foothold in the burgeoning DLP segment, also referred by some as the ILP (information leakage prevention) space.

The two companies already maintain an OEM business partnership, through which Symantec markets Vontu's DLP technologies to its customers.

Sources said that the proposed deal will have Symantec paying US$300-$350 million for privately-held Vontu, whose revenues are estimated at roughly US$30 million per year by some industry analysts.

Symantec representatives didn't immediately return calls seeking comment on the rumored buyout.

DLP has become an increasingly popular sector in the larger IT security market as companies of all sizes look for methods to prevent malicious or unintentional distribution of sensitive data from their networks.

The technology has been pitched by its proponents as one of the few available tools for protecting against so-called "insider threats," through which companies fear the loss of data like customer records or closely-protected intellectual property at the hands of employees, business partners, or hidden malware infections.

Driven by a range of market forces, including compliance regulations and high-profile data exposure incidents, the niche has attracted the interest of nearly 40 different vendors seeking to cash in on growing demand among buyers, particularly large enterprises in highly-regulated industries, such as the financial services space.

Among the deals that have already occurred in the DLP market are WebSense's acquisition of PortAuthority

McAfee, Symantec's closest rival, announced plans to acquire encryption and device access control specialist SafeBoot for US$350 million. Industry watchers believe that McAfee made the deal to bolster its standing in the DLP market, which it originally entered via the acquisition of data leakage software maker Onigma, a far smaller vendor than Vontu, for US$20 million in late 2006.

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