Symantec to Buy Brightmail for $370 Million

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Symantec Corp. agreed yesterday to acquire the 89 percent stake in Brightmail it does not already own for $370 million in cash. If approved, the deal would end Brightmail's plans to go public.


Symantec, Cupertino, CA, known for its Norton anti-virus computer software, said it wanted to add Brightmail's anti-spam technology to its array of gateway security solutions. The acquisition is expected to close by early July. Brightmail, San Francisco, said its board of directors determined that the combination with Symantec was more favorable than going public.


"We've built a complete spam defense offering that includes multiple technologies," Brightmail president/CEO Enrique Salem said in a statement. "By joining forces with Symantec, we can provide our combined base of customers around the world with the broadest messaging security solution in the industry."


In July 2000, Symantec made a strategic investment in Brightmail, buying an 11 percent equity stake. Brightmail's Probe Network deploys dummy accounts to identify and subsequently block sources of spam. The company has 2,000 clients with 300 million e-mail addresses, accounting for 25 percent of e-mail in-boxes worldwide.


Brightmail, founded in 1998, in March filed for an initial public offering that would have raised up to $80 million. Brightmail made $1.2 million on $26 million in sales in the year ended Jan. 31.


With spam now accounting for 64 percent of all e-mail traffic and costing U.S. businesses $10 billion annually, the market for anti-spam companies is hot. The Radicati Group expects 55 percent of all e-mail boxes to have some kind of anti-spam tool by the end of the year. At the end of 2008, it forecasts 66 percent will have one in place and the market will be worth $1.7 billion.


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