RealTime IT News

Cisco Gives NetSift $30M For Its Birthday

With the ink on its corporate letterhead barely dry, security software developer NetSift has been snapped up by Cisco for $30 million in cash and options.

The deal gives Cisco the software to protect enterprise customers from large-scale worm and virus attacks. The applications will eventually find their way into the San Jose, Calif., network giant's switching platforms and other gear.

In addition, Cisco gains intellectual property focused on high-speed packet processing and 15 employees who will join Cisco's Internet Systems Business Unit under vice president and general manager Tom Edsall.

It's a quick exit for NetSift. The privately held San Diego startup was founded in June 2004 with backing from Enterprise Partners Venture Capital.

The fact that NetSift is just a year old underscores the importance of security for corporations and government agencies, an area that Cisco CEO John Chambers has said consistently ranks as a top concern for customers.

Pending regulatory approval, the sale is expected to close by July 30.

For Cisco, the buy is the latest in a series of acquisitions to pick up smaller networking firms whose technology can be integrated or packaged with its switches and routers.

To improve its offerings for corporate data center operators, Cisco last month paid $70 million for FineGround Networks.

And previously Cisco paid $68 million for consumer Voice over IP technology provider Sipura Technology. Other Cisco acquisitions in 2005 include wireless local area network gear maker Airespace and grid computing specialist Topspin.

The buying spree is being mirrored by Cisco competitors, including Nortel and Juniper Networks , which recently agreed to pay a total of $449 million for startups Peribit and Redline.