SonicWall buys Aventail on the cheap

Remote access specialist Aventail is to be acquired by larger rival SonicWall for $25 million in cash.

The deal, which is expected to close in the remarkably quick timeframe by the end of July, will see the privately-owned Aventail add its SSL VPN range of products to strengthen SonicWall’s.

It was not made clear in the official announcement how the two will merge their products, and whether either company’s lines will lose out. The modest price for Aventail suggests that SonicWall might be in search of the former’s premium customers, however, rather than its technology alone.

“SonicWALL is number one in SSL VPN unit share worldwide, and this acquisition will help grow our revenue share. We will compete more effectively in the remote access space, building on complementary elements in our two organisations, and offer new solutions that enhance our relevance for today’s dynamic enterprise,” said SonicWall CEO Matthew Medeiros, offering few clues.

Aventail will be remembered both a pioneer of SSL VPN access and as an advocate of the awfully-termed “de-perimeterised” network, where users are secured according to criteria such as what they are connecting from rather than where they are physically.

It looks as if Aventail’s shareholders have decided that its growth possibilities as a small company were becoming limited, and that the best option was a sell-out.

The company, founded in 1996, was financed by a several rounds of venture capital, one of which totalled $55 million during the tech slump of 2001. The end price will disappoint many.

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