Check Point CEO: We're Evaluating Acquisitions, Both Big And Small

Check Point Software Technologies is on the hunt for an acquisition in 2016 and is open to the idea of either a blockbuster buy or a small technology tuck-in move, CEO Gil Shwed said on the company’s year-end earnings call Thursday.

’We are looking at the entire spectrum and if we find the right opportunity and right strategic match it can be small or it can be large,’ Shwed said.

Shwed said Check Point is ’very open’ to the idea of an acquisition and is ’evaluating all the opportunities’ in the market. What’s more important than size, he said, is that the technology is the right fit for the security vendor’s large customer base and fit into its security architecture.

[Related: 6 Blockbuster Security Acquisitions You Could See In 2016]

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Rumors have emerged in recent weeks that privileged account management vendor CyberArk could have been one of the companies that caught Check Point’s eye, centering around a report from Israeli publication The Marker that said talks of an acquisition were in the ’preliminary stages.’ However, in an interview with Reuters this week, CyberArk CEO Udi Mokady said he was more focused on growing the company ’independently.’

Check Point made two acquisitions in 2015, picking up Lacoon Mobile Security last April for about $80 million and Hyperwise last February for an undisclosed price. Shwed said further acquisitions would not necessarily be in those same segments.

Shwed's comments came during Check Point’s fourth-quarter and year-end earnings call. Revenue for the fourth quarter was $458 million, up nearly 9 percent year over year. Earnings for the quarter were $195 million, up around 5 percent over the same quarter last year. For the full year, Check Point reported revenue of $1.63 billion, compared with $1.49 billion in 2014. The security vendor also posted a profit of $686 million, up 4 percent over the year before.

Some of the highlights from the quarter were a growing pipeline for its 2015 investments in mobile security and advanced threat protection. Shwed said the company’s mobile products were starting to ’generate a high level of interest’ and saw the company’s mobile pipeline growing ’nicely’ in the fourth quarter. He said advanced threat protection, propelled by the company’s launch of Sandblast, ’began to see traction almost immediately after launch’ and ’contributed nicely to growth.’

SandBlast, which the company launched in September, includes both Threat Emulation, which detects zero-day threats at the earliest possible stage, and Threat Extraction, which allows users to access documents while the sandbox and detection engine go to work on the back end.

The company also started to see fruit from its investments in growing its field sales headcount, marketing and in R&D, Shwed said. Those are areas Check Point will continue to invest in going into 2016, he said. ’We hope to reap further benefit from these investments in the future.’

Shwed said Check Point plans to invest more in its channel partners in 2016, particularly around training and adding channel account managers. A particular focus for those investments will be on educating partners on advanced threat prevention and mobile security, he said. Coming off of the company’s recent Sales Kick Off event, Shwed said partners seem excited about the direction the security vendor is taking.

’The level of enthusiasm for the year and the positioning have slightly gone up with our sales force and the channel partners. It’s the beginning of the year, and I hope it’s a good sign.’ Shwed said.

Going forward, Shwed said Check Point expects first-quarter revenue to be between $395 million and $410 million. He said the company expects non-GAAP earnings per share to be between 99 cents and $1.05. For the full year, Shwed said the security vendor expects revenue to be between $1.72 billion and $1.79 billion, with earnings per share between $4.45 and $4.60.