Entrust acquires Business Signatures for $50 million

Entrust Thursday announced it has acquired Business Signatures, the privately held vendor of the eFraud Detector anti-fraud detection software used primarily in online banking, for US$50 million in cash.

Business Signatures, which has 40 employees, will operate as a division of Entrust called Entrust Business Signatures, according to Chris Voice, chief technology officer at the acquiring company.

Entrust has no immediate plans to alter product names, including eFraud Detector. In addition, Business Signatures President and CEO Peter Relan, who co-founded the company in 2001, is expected to head up the new division.

"They're doing well there, and we don't want to shake things up," said Voice.

Voice said eFraud Detector works by "passively monitoring network traffic, and based on behavior it observes, determines whether there's suspicious activity." He said Business Signatures has about 20 customers today, including Citibank North America and H&R Block.

Entrust provides public-key information products and the IdentityGuard multi-factor authentication platform. Entrust's main competitor is RSA Security, which late last year acquired the anti-fraud detection company Cyota.

Voice said Entrust believes eFraud Detector, typically used in Web banking, is less cumbersome to install than the Cyota approach, offering easier integration for the financial services firms that are the main purchasers.

In its earning statement Thursday, Entrust announced second-quarter revenues of US$22.1 million, up 5% from the previous quarter but down from the US$24.8 million recorded in the second quarter of 2005. Entrust said it posted a net loss in the second quarter of US$1.3 million, compared with a net loss of US$9.2 million in the first quarter this year.

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