Contact: Ben Kolada
Just three days after announcing its largest acquisition – the $126m pickup of cybersecurity software development firm Poole & Associates – KEYW has snagged small security information and event management (SIEM) vendor Sensage for $24m, with an earnout potentially raising that price by $10.5m. The two companies had previously been partners, working together on KEYW’s networking cybersecurity platform, dubbed Project G.
KEYW is handing over $15m in cash and $9m in stock. The deal also includes an earnout of up to $3m in cash and $7.5m in stock, achievable based on unspecified revenue targets for the second half of the year. The transaction is expected to close in October.
The Redwood City, California-based target, which has 35 employees, generated about $12m in revenue last year and recorded a small operating loss for the first half of this year. However, although the legacy Sensage business will be retained, the company isn’t being valued on its sales, but rather its potential contribution to KEYW’s nascent Project G platform. Sensage CEO Joe Gottlieb will head the combined company’s Project G network security initiative. KEYW began commercially testing Project G in June.
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Source: The 451 M&A KnowledgeBase *451 Research estimate. Click links for full deal details.
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Contact: Brenon Daly
In a highly unusual twist of timing, both IBM and McAfee announced significant acquisitions of security event and incident management (SIEM) startups within hours of each other Tuesday morning. First up, IBM said it was adding Q1 Labs as part of a new initiative around ‘Security Intelligence.’ (The announcement confirmed the rumored pairing between the two companies that we noted on Monday.) That was followed just two hours later by McAfee’s reach for NitroSecurity.
The transactions, which are both expected to close before the end of the year, take the two largest privately held SIEM vendors off the market. According to our estimates, Q1 was tracking to about $70m in sales this year while NitroSecurity was likely to generate roughly $30m. Between them, the two startups counted more than 2,300 customers. Further, Q1 and NitroSecurity were the highest-ranked private SIEM providers in a recent survey of IT buyers by TheInfoPro, a division of The 451 Group.
All of that goes a long way toward explaining why both startups got valuations substantially above prevailing market multiples. Collectively, Q1 and NitroSecurity took in a total of about $75m in funding over the decade or so they had been in business. As we understand it, the aggregate price for the pair is somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 times the amount they raised.
Contact: Thejeswi Venkatesh, Ben Kolada
Hewlett-Packard recently announced the availability of ArcSight Express 3.0, an upgraded version of the product it acquired last year. In light of this release, we note that independent ESIM vendors aren’t resting on their laurels, either. They continue to develop, innovate and position themselves as potential IPO/acquisition candidates. Competition is already fierce among ESIM players, with each trying to expand their addressable markets, but with HP, Attachmate and Sophos adding ESIM offerings to their portfolios, rivals might look to add to their own to compete effectively.
In a recent report, my colleague Andrew Hay notes that there are several potential acquirers and targets. The list of takeout candidates continues to include Q1 Labs, although there have been M&A rumors around the company for a decade. Q1 Labs is also primping itself for an IPO, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it became the latest target in the growing line of dual-track acquisitions announced so far this year. Given its enviable revenue growth (Q1 Labs reported that its revenue grew 75% in 2010), we expect that Q1 Labs would catch a valuation similar to ArcSight. HP picked up that Cupertino, California-based security provider in September 2010 in a deal valued at nearly 8 times trailing sales. Beyond Q1 Labs, we could point to NitroSecurity, which was allegedly in talks with McAfee earlier this year. We’d also note that McAfee lost out on the ArcSight assets, and could look to NitroSecurity as an alternative.
Contact: Brenon Daly, Andrew Hay
With the ink barely dry on the M&A papers of SolarWinds’ purchase of TriGeo, we understand that another deal in the enterprise security information management (ESIM) market may be already in the works. Several industry sources have indicated that McAfee and NitroSecurity are thought to be close to an agreement that would give Intel’s subsidiary a solid ESIM offering.
McAfee has been looking in this market for some time. We gather that the company lobbed a bid (thought be in the neighborhood of $600m) for ESIM kingpin ArcSight before that company went public in February 2008. More recently, we weren’t surprised to hear that McAfee was in the process early for ArcSight last summer but got outbid by Hewlett-Packard, which ended up paying $1.65bn, or a steep 8 times trailing revenue for ArcSight.
If the acquisition indeed comes together, NitroSecurity would make a great deal of sense for McAfee. NitroSecurity, which we understand is running at about $40m in revenue, sells big-ticket installations to enterprises and the federal government – a market that McAfee clearly wants to be in. (NitroSecurity is also one of the few security vendors that has been able to crack into the industrial control system market, which gives the company a shot at lucrative contracts securing some of the nation’s critical infrastructure.)
The only other ESIM provider of size that might also give McAfee a comparable presence in the enterprise market would be Q1 Labs. However, that firm has a deep relationship with Juniper Networks, which is its single largest OEM partner. Nonetheless, Q1 has ascribed itself a fairly rich valuation, according to sources. The market may well soon have its vote on that, as Q1 recently indicated that it is looking toward an IPO.