Blue Coat Systems and Crossbeam Systems are both majority-owned by private equity big wheel Thoma Bravo. And pretty soon, they'll be the same company: Blue Coat Monday confirmed it will acquire the network security automation specialist.
Blue Coat owner Thoma Bravo bought Crossbeam in November, and that means a faster close for Blue Coat than it might have been otherwise, Blue Coat executives said.
"The recent acquisition of Crossbeam by Thoma Bravo provided the due diligence and thorough modeling that Blue Coat needed to accelerate this deal," David Murphy, Blue Coat's COO and president, said in an email to CRN. "Having Thoma Bravo as the common owner and the legwork they did for the initial acquisition have allowed us to drive to an aggressive close date and immediately begin integrating our two teams, which will help us accelerate the delivery of the new features and products our customers have been asking for."
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Blue Coat declined to provide financial details of the transaction, which is expected to close by Dec. 31. Crossbeam, based in Boxborough, Mass., and with about 200 employees, was the latest in a series of IT security acquisitions made by Thoma Bravo, which in the past 18 months has snapped up Blue Coat, Tripwire and SonicWall, the latter sold to Dell in early 2012.
Blue Coat's specialties are Web security and WAN optimization appliances. It will now gain Crossbeam's X-series network security platform, which automates how security applications are provisioned and scaled for enterprise and service provider customers.
"Performance is important today, and the continued expansion and criticality of the Web in the enterprise will make it critical in three years," Murphy said. "The move to improve corporate agility with mobile and cloud-based solutions drives demand for additional capacity, forcing enterprises into a cycle of constantly expanding networking and security infrastructures. Over the last year, I have heard directly from many of our customers about their growing capacity requirements."
All of Crossbeam's core functions, programs and employees will be integrated into Blue Coat, Murphy said. Crossbeam's development, manufacturing and support organizations will remain in Boxborough under the direction of Chet Gapinski, currently Crossbeam's vice president of product development.
Crossbeam's field organization will join Blue Coat's global sales force, but Crossbeam CEO Mike Ruffalo will depart the company, Murphy said.
"Mike has made valuable contributions to Crossbeam and we appreciate his dedication and work through this process," he said.
Thoma Bravo's Blue Coat acquisition, completed in February 2012, was for $1.3 billion and took Blue Coat private after a year of earnings shortfalls and a CEO change. Blue Coat had been a public company since its 1999 IPO, when it was still known as CacheFlow.
The company recently has been retooling its channel program and offering more partner incentives, though solution providers have criticized Blue Coat for the cuts it's making to lucrative maintenance program margins.
At the time of Crossbeam's acquisition, it had recently expanded its Crossbeam Authorized Partner Program (CAPP) to reward more strategic channel partners with an Elite tier. Blue Coat expects to integrate CAPP with its own partner programs and retain Crossbeam's partners.
Matthew Gyde, global general manager of security for integrator Dimension Data, described Blue Coat and Crossbeam as "natural partners."
"The combination of Blue Coat's Web security solutions and Crossbeam's scalable X-series platform is an exciting proposition for us. We're confident that this union will appeal to our clients that are looking to innovate securely and cost-effectively," Gyde said in a statement.
PUBLISHED DEC. 17, 2012