Imperva Channel Chief: 'No Change' For Partners Despite Rise In Sale Rumors

Rumors are back in force that Imperva is looking for a buyer, with reports Friday that the security vendor has received interest from several large technology companies. But while those rumors fly, Imperva’s channel chief says partners should expect ’no changes’ in the way they do business with the company.

’They are rumors right now. We are very committed to our partner program and the direction we’re going as a company, and we’re executing on that with no changes as to how we're working day to day,’ Karl Soderlund, vice president of worldwide channels and alliances, told CRN.

Soderlund declined to comment on the validity of the rumors. Imperva did not respond to requests for comment.

[Related: Imperva Rolls Out New Partner Program For Better Channel Foundation]

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Imperva rolled out an updated partner program in August, the Imperva PartnerSphere Channel Program, with a focus on making it easier for partners to do business with and profit from working with the security vendor. It also moved more of Imperva’s technology under the program.

Rumors of an Imperva sale have been floating for months, but reemerged last week after a Bloomberg report said the company has engaged Qatalyst Partners to evaluate its options, with bids due in about two weeks. The report said the company has received interest from Cisco, IBM and Forcepoint. The report said Akamai and Fortinet have also held discussions with Imperva.

Imperva cut its revenue forecast this summer, dropping its sales predictions in July for its second-quarter earnings from between $65.5 million to $66.5 million to between $57.5 million and $58 million, attributing the drop to longer sales cycles and fewer large deals. The company reported second-quarter sales of $57.9 million in August.

Imperva has also faced pressure from activist investor Elliott Management, which owns a 10.9 percent share of the company and is well-known for its technology investments, as well as a habit of publicly pushing those companies to undertake drastic changes. Elliott said in a filing that it was talking to Imperva about ’strategic and operational opportunities.’

Partners of some of the major vendors have called for them to acquire Imperva, which has offerings for web application security, cloud security, data security and more. Cisco partners, in particular, told CRN that an Imperva acquisition would be a ’huge hit’ for the company, filling holes in its current set of offerings around DDoS and web application firewalls, data security, encryption and data masking.

Andrew Nowinski, senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray, said Cisco, in particular, could be ’potentially interesting’ as a suitor for Imperva. He said IBM could also make sense, as its Guardium data security platform is ’up double digits’ and ’seeing strong growth.’

In general, Nowinski said the Imperva talks are a signal of a coming market consolidation, a trend he said hasn’t really kicked off in full yet.

’We really haven’t seen a lot of consolidation in the space yet … We could start to see more consolidation,’ Nowinski said.