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WatchGuard Technologies to Acquire Panda Security

WatchGuard Technologies to Buy Panda Security in Latest Endpoint Security Acquisition

Seattle, WA-based network security firm WatchGuard Technologies announced that it has agreed to acquire Spain-based endpoint security firm Panda Security. Financial details were not disclosed, but Spanish newspaper El Pais has reported that 'sources' claim Panda has been on sale for a price around €250 million. The deal is expected to close in Q2, 2020. 

Integrating the two product lines will bring together network and endpoint solutions under a single supplier. WatchGuard already provides network security, secure Wi-Fi, multi-factor authentication and network intelligence. Panda provides a range of user-centric security products and services for protecting people, devices, and the networks they connect to from malicious websites, malware, spam, and other targeted attacks.

The intention is to integrate the Panda product range into the main WatchGuard product. “In the short term, the acquisition of Panda Security makes best-in-class endpoint detection and response, threat hunting, endpoint AV, email security, patching, and data compliance and encryption accessible to our customer base through a trusted vendor and their IT solution provider of choice,” commented Prakash Panjwani, CEO of WatchGuard. “Longer term, our customers and partners will enjoy the additional benefits that come from these solutions being tightly integrated with the core WatchGuard offering.”

Panda, a firm that was founded in 1990, is best known as an anti-malware company -- but is a firm that has never quite managed to fulfill its potential in the market. When researchers at SafeBreach described a new ransomware process in January 2010, Panda was one of just a few anti-ransomware products that automatically and already protected against the new threat.

“We are thrilled to merge with WatchGuard because of the new scale and portfolio access it provides to our customers and partners,” Panda Security CEO Juan Santamaria Uriarte said in a statement. “We are also excited to see our innovative product portfolio be delivered via WatchGuard’s strong global network of partners.” WatchGuard claims more than 10,000 resellers and more than 80,000 customers around the world. Panda has more than 600 employees, and claims to have over 30 million users across 180 countries. 

WatchGuard was founded in 1996. It was acquired by private equity firm Francisco Partners for $151 million in 2006. Francisco Partners has raised more than $15 billion of capital. It describes itself as one of the largest and most active technology-focused private equity firms in the world, providing "transformational capital to technology companies facing strategic or operational inflection points."

Merger and acquisition activity on endpoint security firms has been strong in recent years. Broadcom bought Symantec's enterprise business unit for $10.7 billion in November 2019 (the unit is now known as NortonLifeLock); VMware purchased Carbon Black for $2.1 billion  in October 2019; Blackberry acquired Cylance for $1.4 billion in November 2018, and private equity investment firm Thoma Bravo bought Sophos for $3.9 billion in October 2019.

Related: Nigerian Fraudsters Attack Oil Logistics Firms Without Using Malware: Report 

Related: Buggy Panda Update Causes Problems for Home, Enterprise Users 

Related: Historical Perspective on Dark Web Sale of 10 Million Health Records

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Kevin Townsend is a Senior Contributor at SecurityWeek. He has been writing about high tech issues since before the birth of Microsoft. For the last 15 years he has specialized in information security; and has had many thousands of articles published in dozens of different magazines – from The Times and the Financial Times to current and long-gone computer magazines.