Sophos Acquires Anti-Spam Specialist ActiveState
Wednesday September 24, 8:04 am ET
Combined company poised for global leadership in enterprise anti-virus and anti-spam protection
LYNNFIELD, Mass. and VANCOUVER, B.C., Sept. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Sophos, a
world leader in anti-virus protection for businesses, today announced that it
has acquired ActiveState, a North American software company that develops
anti-spam software for enterprises and professional tools for open source
Driven by mounting pressures to ensure a secure and low-cost
infrastructure, organizations are increasingly demanding consolidated
protection against security threats such as viruses, spam and policy breaches.
The transaction, worth $23 million in cash, thrusts Sophos into the leading
position in meeting the expanding secure content management needs of
ActiveState is based in Vancouver, British Columbia, and serves more than
two million customers, including HP, Intel and Microsoft. Sophos has
purchased all the shares of ActiveState and will retain all of ActiveState's
100-plus employees. ActiveState's headquarters in Vancouver will become an
additional center for research and development for Sophos and will also
provide local market support in Canada as well as expanding Sophos's west
ActiveState's product lines for open source programmers will continue to
be developed and sold under the ActiveState brand. As a division of Sophos,
the existing ActiveState team is committed to continuing its support of the
open source language community.
Industry analysts Gartner Inc. claim that up to 50 percent of the average
business mailbox is spam.(1) Although both the US and UK governments are
proposing legislation against spammers, the problem is threatening to swamp
businesses, preventing them from operating efficiently. Acquiring ActiveState
leaves Sophos well positioned to meet enterprise demands for consolidated
email protection. As Arabella Hallawell, research director, Gartner Inc.,
reports, "There is growing enterprise demand for combined anti-spam and anti-
virus product and service capabilities at the email boundary."
Industry analysts Ferris Research agree. "Sophos and ActiveState have a
shared vision, strong and complementary products, and a similar culture of
engineering excellence," says David Ferris, president, Ferris Research.
"Enterprises increasingly look to a single vendor for protection against spam
and viruses at the gateway, so the acquisition of ActiveState by Sophos makes
a lot of sense."
"The proliferation of spam, combined with our existing customers'
increasing desire to receive anti-virus and anti-spam protection from the same
source, means that now is a very strategic time for us to expand into spam
filtering," said Peter Lammer, founder and joint CEO of Sophos. "With a focus
on serving business environments, ActiveState has a very similar company
culture to Sophos. There is also a good technical fit between both companies'
proprietary technologies. ActiveState's proven technology, its impressive
customer base, its expertise in the open source world, and in particular the
quality of its staff are very valuable additions to Sophos."
ActiveState's President, Steve Munford, will be taking a key role in
driving the anti-spam element of Sophos's business, becoming a member of the
executive management team. Munford takes the post of Global VP Messaging and
will attend Sophos Plc board meetings.
"For the last three years, Sophos has significantly outperformed the anti-
virus market as a whole. This impressive growth is a reflection of Sophos's
unwavering focus on the enterprise market and its commitment to customer
service," said Munford. "These qualities combined with our proven technology
means that the company is well placed to meet the IT security needs of
businesses. We are excited to be joining the Sophos team."
Sophos's anti-virus technology will be integrated with PureMessage,
ActiveState's enterprise email protection software, to deliver industry-
leading anti-virus and anti-spam protection in a single, consolidated solution
- Sophos PureMessage. PureMessage currently supports AIX, HP-UX, FreeBSD,
Linux and Solaris. For more information please see
http://www.sophos.com/products/pm/(1)James Lundy, Maurene Caplan Grey, and Arabella Hallawell, "Stop Spam
from Killing Workforce Productivity," September 22, 2003.
Sophos is a world leading specialist developer of anti-virus and anti-spam
software. Headquartered in the UK, the company protects businesses and
organisations - from small enterprises to governments and global corporations
- against viruses and spam. Sophos is acclaimed for delivering the highest
level of customer satisfaction and protection in the industry. The company's
products are sold and supported in more than 150 countries.
About ActiveState Corp
ActiveState, a division of Sophos, enables enterprises and IT
professionals to increase productivity and organisational efficiency through
the innovative use of open source technologies. Over two million developers
rely on ActiveState's open source language programming tools, language
distributions, and enterprise support services. http://www.activestate.com.
Lorita Ba Jennifer Torode
Horn Group, Inc. Sophos, Inc.