Combined company poised for global leadership in enterprise
anti-virus and anti-spam protection
Sophos, a world leader in anti-virus protection for businesses,
today announced that it has acquired ActiveState, a North American
software company that develops anti-spam software for enterprises
and professional tools for open source language programmers.
Driven by mounting pressures to ensure a secure and low-cost
infrastructure, organisations are increasingly demanding
consolidated protection against security threats such as viruses,
spam and policy breaches. The transaction, worth $23 million in
cash, thrusts UK-based Sophos into the leading position in meeting
the expanding secure content management needs of businesses
ActiveState is based in Vancouver, British Columbia, and serves
more than two million customers, including HP, Intel and Microsoft.
Sophos has purchased all the shares of ActiveState, and will retain
all of ActiveState's 100-plus employees. ActiveState's headquarters
in Vancouver will become an additional centre for research and
development for Sophos and will also provide local market support
in Canada as well as expanding Sophos's west coast support.
ActiveState's product lines for open source programmers will
continue to be developed and sold under the ActiveState brand. As a
division of Sophos, the existing ActiveState team is committed to
continuing its support of the open source language community.
Industry analysts Gartner Inc. claim that up to 50% of the
average business mailbox is spam.1
Although both the US and UK governments are proposing legislation
against spammers, the problem is threatening to swamp businesses,
preventing them from operating efficiently. Acquiring ActiveState
leaves Sophos well positioned to meet enterprise demands for
consolidated email protection. As Arabella Hallawell, research
director, Gartner Inc., reports, "There is growing enterprise
demand for combined anti-spam and anti-virus product and service
capabilities at the email boundary."
Industry analysts Ferris Research agree. "Sophos and ActiveState
have a shared vision, strong and complementary products, and a
similar culture of engineering excellence," says David Ferris,
president, Ferris Research. "Enterprises increasingly look to a
single vendor for protection against spam and viruses at the
gateway, so the acquisition of ActiveState by Sophos makes a lot of
"The proliferation of spam, combined with our existing
customers' increasing desire to receive anti-virus and anti-spam
protection from the same source, means that now is a very strategic
time for us to expand into spam filtering," said Peter Lammer,
founder and joint CEO of Sophos. "With a focus on serving business
environments, ActiveState has a very similar company culture to
Sophos. There is also a good technical fit between both companies'
proprietary technologies. ActiveState's proven technology, its
impressive customer base, its expertise in the open source world,
and in particular the quality of its staff are very valuable
additions to Sophos."
ActiveState's President, Steve Munford, will be taking a key
role in driving the anti-spam element of Sophos's business,
becoming a member of the executive management team. Munford takes
the post of Global VP Messaging, and will attend Sophos Plc board
"For the last three years, Sophos has significantly outperformed
the anti-virus market as a whole. This impressive growth is a
reflection of Sophos's unwavering focus on the enterprise market
and its commitment to customer service," said Munford. "These
qualities combined with our proven technology means that the
company is well placed to meet the IT security needs of businesses.
We are excited to be joining the Sophos team."
Sophos's anti-virus technology will be integrated with
PureMessage, ActiveState's enterprise email protection software, to
deliver industry-leading anti-virus and anti-spam protection in a
single, consolidated solution - Sophos
PureMessage. PureMessage currently supports AIX, HP-UX,
FreeBSD, Linux and Solaris.
Read analyst reaction
to the news
1 James Lundy, Maurene
Caplan Grey, and Arabella Hallawell, "Stop Spam from Killing
Workforce Productivity," September 22, 2003.
About ActiveState Corp
ActiveState, a division of Sophos, enables enterprises and IT
professionals to increase productivity and organisational
efficiency through the innovative use of open source technologies.
Over two million developers rely on ActiveState's open source
language programming tools, language distributions, and enterprise