Baltimore Acquires Content Technologies for $1B

In a deal worth almost $US1 billion, Dublin-based Baltimore Technologies PLC announced that it was acquiring U.K.-based Content Technologies Holdings Ltd.

More than 6,000 customers and 6 million users around the world use Content Technologies' MIMEsweeper policy engine to inspect Web content and screen data such as order forms, signed and encrypted contracts, junk e-mail, e-mail viruses and employees' online activities.

Content Technologies was acquired in a $US992 million transaction that both companies say will strengthen their positions in the security market. David Guyatt, CEO at Content Technologies, said in a statement last week that joining forces with Baltimore will allow his company to accelerate the rollout and development of its security products.

Baltimore's UniCERT public key infrastructure systems include a back-end certificate authority (CA) with tamper-resistant hardware, registration authority modules and gateways. The products use 128-bit cryptographic security applications developed by Baltimore's electronic-security tool kits. The acquisition expands Baltimore's global presence in North America, where Content had 42 percent of its sales in the nine-month period that ended July 31.

According to Baltimore, the acquisition will allow customers of both companies to develop more integrated security systems to manage access control, authentication, confidentiality, integrity and nonrepudiation. These tools will help companies know with whom they are exchanging information and govern the use and flow of data within, to and from the organization.

At Baltimore's Global e-Security 2000 conference in Orlando, which opened yesterday, the company also announced the launch of a range of security development tools for the Palm OS platform. The products are intended to develop secure consumer and enterprise applications for personal digital assistants (PDA) and other handheld devices.

Baltimore is hoping its wireless electronic-security tools will provide system integrators, software vendors and corporate information technology departments with end-to-end security for a new generation of secure handheld applications. According to analysts, such devices are increasing in popularity and embedding security into them will allow secure access to corporate intranets and secure mobile transactions.

"Baltimore Technologies' wireless security expertise is a welcome addition to the Palm developer community," said Gordon Clyne, security products manager at Palm Inc. in Santa Clara, Calif. "Palm's customers are increasingly using their handheld computers for valuable and sensitive business information, and the extension of its leading e-security products to the Palm OS is timely, providing greater confidence and choice in mobilizing the enterprise."

The handheld-device market is open to even greater security risks than the mobile-phone market, because unconnected PDAs haven't required Internet security technology. The company is marketing its Baltimore Telepathy PDA tools to allow developers to implement encryption and digital signature technology into their applications with the small footprint required by embedded devices.

Analysts note that access to Internet-based enterprise solutions, such as sales-force automation and customer relationship management software via handheld devices, is expected to expand.

According to Meta Group Inc. in Stamford, Conn., 20 percent to 25 percent of corporate end users will be using such devices within the next two or three years. Researchers predict that global sales of handheld computers will hit $US7.2 billion by 2003.

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