3Com to buy TippingPoint for $430M

TippingPoint's technology aims to protect networks from a variety of threats

3Com Corp. became the latest company to scoop up technology for preventing attacks on computer networks, announcing today that it is acquiring Austin-based TippingPoint Technologies Inc. for $430 million in cash.

The deal will add TippingPoint's UnityOne line of network-based intrusion-prevention system (IPS) hardware and software to 3Com's stable of enterprise security products, and it will give 3Com a leg up in the growing market for technology to serve converged networks of voice and data, 3Com said in a statement.

Marlboro, Mass.-based 3Com will pay $47 in cash for each outstanding share of TippingPoint stock, adding TippingPoint as a new division within 3Com. Kip McClanahan, TippingPoint's current CEO, will be the division president.

Companies use TippingPoint's technology to protect their networks from a variety of threats, including denial-of-service attacks and infections from worms and viruses. TippingPoint's UnityOne IPS appliances use a custom chip to inspect network traffic at high speeds, spotting attacks aimed at software applications, as well as routers, switches, Domain Name System servers and other critical network infrastructure. The UnityOne Security Management System allows companies to centrally manage and control IPS appliances across the network, according to TippingPoint.

The UnityOne technology will strengthen 3Com's enterprise product portfolio, giving the company a foothold in the intrusion-detection and -prevention hardware and software markets which, together, are expected to be worth $1.24 billion by 2008, according to IDC.

The purchase will also give the company technology for securing voice-over-IP traffic, as well as traditional network traffic on converged networks, 3Com said.

3Com has taken steps in the last year to build its profile as a provider of network security technology. In November 2003, the company unveiled a partnership with Crossbeam Systems Inc. to market and sell that company's security services switches to medium-size and large enterprises worldwide.

In January, the company released the 3Com Security Switch 6200, which uses Crossbeam technology and provides firewall, antivirus, content-filtering and intrusion-detection features on a single device. In September, 3Com added the Security Switch 7245 and 7280 to that line, targeting large enterprises and Internet service providers with features like virtual private networks, intrusion detection, virus scanning, antispam and secure remote access via Secure Sockets Layer VPNs.

3Com is just the latest company to buy its way into the intrusion detection and prevention (IDP) market.

In a megadeal announced in February, Juniper Networks Inc. bought security vendor NetScreen Technologies Inc. for stock worth approximately $4 billion, adding NetScreen's network security products, including IDP appliances, to Juniper's portfolio.

In March, Cisco Systems Inc. bought Cupertino, Calif.-based Riverhead Networks Inc. for $39 million in cash, picking up technology to protect networks from distributed denial-of-service attacks.

Security software companies are getting into the IDP business, too. McAfee Inc. laid out $220 million in April 2003, for two San Jose-based companies: IntruVert Networks Inc., a maker of hardware-based firewalls and network-intrusion-detection systems, and Entercept Security Technologies Inc., a maker of host IPS technology.

More recently, Symantec Corp. signed a deal on Dec. 3 to purchase Platform Logic, a maker of the AppFire host-based intrusion-detection software for an undisclosed sum.

Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.

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