Partners: Symantec's Blue Coat Acquisition Lays Foundation For More Stable, Forward-Looking Security Vendor

Solution providers were thrilled with the news that Symantec will buy Blue Coat Systems, saying the move lays the groundwork for a more stable, forward-looking security vendor partner.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company said late Sunday that it planned to acquire Blue Coat for $4.56 billion in cash. The acquisition is expected to close in the third calendar quarter of 2016, the companies said.

"I think it's awesome," said Jason Eberhardt, vice president of strategic alliances at Chicago-based Conventus. "You put those two together, that's a match made in heaven."

[Related: Q&A: New Symantec CEO Talks Blue Coat Acquisition, Integration Roadmap And Plans For Partners]

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The acquisition boosts Symantec's threat protection capabilities in the areas of cloud and web security, where Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Blue Coat is a market leader. For Conventus, Eberhardt said, those additions are key as they allow the solution provider to expand its portfolio and offer a broader security portfolio to its clients.

"This is where the industry is moving," Eberhardt said. "When you add this type of tool, this type of solution to an already insanely strong portfolio that Symantec has, it's just that much better for everyone."

Steve Barone, president and CEO of Troy, Mich.-based CBI, said that combination of capabilities will "add value" to the Symantec portfolio for partners that have already invested in the portfolio.

"This is going to be a brilliant merger of technologies," Barone said.

Specifically, for Blue Coat, the acquisition adds DLP, cloud sandboxing, a huge user base, managed services, additional ATP capabilities and a vastly expanded threat intelligence network, Blue Coat President and Chief Operating Officer Michael Fey told CRN. In return, Symantec will get to leverage the Blue Coat cloud security portfolio, sandboxing and full-capture packet and analytics, he said. That breadth of portfolio will help the combined company "define the future of cybersecurity," Fey said.

Fey said the companies will strive to ultimately work as a single company, across its product portfolio, platform and partner programs. That combined company will be led by current Blue Coat CEO Greg Clark, who will serve as CEO of Symantec when the acquisition closes.

While Symantec leadership had been talking seriously about making acquisitions since its split from Veritas earlier this year, Barone said the blockbuster size of this move also largely puts to rest other rumors that the security vendor had been pursuing an exit strategy.

"I think we were all worried that all the cleaning up was setting them up to be acquired instead of doing the acquiring. This is just a great [move]," Barone said, referring to Symantec's plan to cut costs by $400 million over the next two years (a number that was raised to $550 million after the Blue Coat acquisition).

John Thompson, Symantec global vice president of partner and channel sales, said the "partner opportunity is strong" with the acquisition, as it broadens the portfolio for greater cross-selling opportunities. The key, he said, is Symantec's ability to now offer top email, endpoint and web security solutions to its partners.

"I call that the trifecta for the partner community," Thompson said. "We were already twice our nearest competitor in terms of revenue in the partner community. This will make that number even larger. It's a formidable opportunity for the partners as well [for] new business."

"A new day has dawned in cybersecurity and we look forward to driving that future with our partner community," he said.