VeriSign, IBM make acquisitions

The recent end-of-the-year corporate acquisition spree continued Wednesday as VeriSign and IBM announced purchases of other companies to add products and services to their own offerings.

VeriSign, an Internet and telecommunications infrastructure vendor, announced that it's buying managed security service provider Guardent in Waltham, Mass., while IBM is acquiring document management software vendor Green Pasture Software in Corvallis, Oregon.

"In addition to being a world-class company in its own right, Guardent is a perfect strategic fit," VeriSign CEO Stratton Sclavos said in a statement. "By combining forces, we will solidify VeriSign's leadership in network security."

And by adding Guardent's customer base, vulnerability management technology and security expertise, the merged company will be better able to serve customers, he said.

VeriSign will pay about US$140 million in stock and cash for Guardent, while gaining about 150 full-time Guardent employees. The acquisition, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2004, is subject to regulatory approvals and other conditions.

Maria Cirino, CEO of Guardent, said in a statement that "Guardent's customers will benefit from VeriSign's infrastructure, intelligence and global reach" through the deal. "All customers will benefit from an accelerated pace of innovation, operational enhancements and global expansion." Cirino will become a senior vice president and general manager of managed security services at the new company.

In the IBM deal, the terms of which are not being disclosed in today's announcement, Green Pasture's operations will be integrated into IBM's enterprise content management business.

"The addition of Green Pasture technology and its expertise in managing complex documents, combined with IBM's comprehensive enterprise content management offerings, brings more value to customers, helping them gain a faster return on their information assets," said Janet Perna, general manager of IBM data management software, in a statement.

Two other IT acquisitions were announced earlier this week.

Tuesday, network security vendor Check Point Software Technologies said it's acquiring firewall software company Zone Labs for $205 million. And on Monday, storage vendor EMC announced the acquisition of virtualization software company VMware for $635 million.