Intel Corp. has made an offer to acquire Stonesoft, a public Finnish firewall security company, for $389 million in cash to bolster the offerings of its McAfee security software package. Public stock of the security company soared following the announcement. Stonesoft investors are poised to faire nicely at 4.50 euros ($5.90) a share, more than double the company’s closing price.
It’s the biggest purchase McAfee has made since its own acquisition to Intel in 2010 for $7.68 million.
The offer has been accepted by Stonesoft’s CEO Ilkka Hiidenheimo, Chairman Hannu Turunen and Timo Syrjaelae, a board member, who together hold 34.7 percent of shares. The deal is recommended by the company’s board.
“The mega-trend for cyber security isn’t showing any signs of slowing down as you’re always hearing about some corporation being hacked,” Mikael Rautanen, an analyst at Inderes Oy in Helsinki, told Bloomberg. “Stonesoft has the potential to see strong growth so this is a pretty good deal for Intel, and the offer price makes it a good deal for Stonesoft shareholders.”
Based in Helsiniki, Stonesoft offers a scope of cyber security solutions including next-generation firewalls, evasion prevention systems and SSL VPN solutions. It features military-grade firewalls either through software, hardware or virtualized appliances. A Gartner security report recently awarded the company a “visionary status.” The company offers one of the most complete security solutions in the industry, which explains McAfee’s interest.
“McAfee already designs and deploys a high-assurance firewall, which provides protection to the world’s most critical networks including government agencies,” Pat Calhoun, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Network Security for Intel, wrote in his blog. “With this acquisition, I am extremely confident that we can deliver a next-generation firewall with the cutting-edge, technology from Stonesoft that is designed to meet the needs of an entirely new larger enterprise segment.
“…With Intel’s backing, we can now provide two leading firewall solutions that will be a critical layer in our Security Connected strategy,” Calhoun continued. “This investment in Stonesoft will also allow us to focus our resources on evolving our IPS platform to be the market-leading solution to help businesses defend against the most sophisticated and advanced threats. Couple IPS and firewall with our advanced threat intelligence, threat evasion expertise, and leading web and email protection solutions, and there is no question McAfee will be leading the way in the network security space.”
Founded in 1990, Stonesoft has more than 6,500 customers, including governments, retailers, and financial services companies. Though the company enjoyed net sales of 9.2 million euros ($12 million) for the first quarter of this year, up 12 percent from the previous year, but suffered a loss per share of 0.03 euro cents ($0.04), down by 0.02 euro cents on a year ago.
The acceptance period for the offer is scheduled to start on May 21 and run for three weeks.