Security Play: 3Com To Buy TippingPoint

The deal would add TippingPoint's lineup of intrusion-prevention solutions to 3Com's security portfolio.

For 3Com solution providers, security is an increasingly important element of network design, according to Don Gulling, president of Verteks Consulting, a 3Com partner in Ocala, Fla. "In every customer we talk to, of the top two or three things they mention, security is always No. 1 or No. 2," he said. "If 3Com can get TippingPoint's technology integrated into its existing platforms, that's what we're looking for."

3Com and its channel partners could benefit most from an integrated security solution for the vendor's VoIP lineup, Gulling said.

"3Com's NBX is a very secure product, but every time we implement VoIP we get asked about security," Gulling said. "Other vendors have built-in security solutions, so to compete in larger deals against a Cisco or a Nortel, you're going to need to have a security solution that's designed to work with your VoIP system."

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3Com said in a statement that TippingPoint's expertise in securing IP telephony environments complements its VoIP portfolio.

Under the terms of the agreement, 3Com will pay $47 cash per outstanding share of TippingPoint stock. 3Com expects to finalize the deal during its current fiscal quarter, which closes at the end of February.

Plans call for TippingPoint to operate as a division of Marlborough, Mass.-based 3Com, with TippingPoint CEO Kip McClanahan taking on the role of division president. He would report to 3Com CEO Bruce Claflin, according to 3Com.

The security vendor's UnityOne lineup of intrusion-prevention systems and security management products target corporate enterprises, government agencies, service providers and academic institutions.

For its third quarter ended Oct. 31, TippingPoint reported revenue of $9.7 million and a loss of $1.8 million, or 24 cents per share. The company, based in Austin, Texas, employs about 125 people.

Shares of 3Com traded down 23 cents at $4.21 Monday morning following the announcement. Shares of TippingPoint traded up $4.94 at $46.60.