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Check Point's Final Push For Desktop Security

Hoping to convince holdout shareholders, Internet security firm Check Point Software Technologies sweetened its acquisition offer for Sweden's Protect Data.

The new $625 million bid comes after a Nov. $586 million offer attracted just 41 percent of Protect Data stock.

The new offer is subject to more than 90 percent of Protect Data shareholders accepting Check Point's bid by Jan. 8, according to a statement. Protect Data owns PointSec Mobile Technologies, a data-encryption firm for mobile devices.

With stolen laptops frequently making headlines, PointSec saw its after-tax income double in the first nine months of 2006.

Gil Shwed, Check Point CEO, said he is confident this expanded offer will attract the 90 percent shareholder acceptance required under Swedish law. However, this attempt will be the last, he told internetnews.com.

Although Shwed in November said it was apparent security must expand beyond the network to protect data, an analyst questioned the sense of the Protect Data offer.

"We don't see it as a great fit," Gartner analyst Neil MacDonald said. A network security company trying to sell desktop security will encounter a credibility gap.

MacDonald said the network firewall market is relatively flat, and Check Point needs to make an acquisition showing the company can grow.

Unlike Protect Data, Check Point's $20 million acquisition of intrusion manager NFR Security makes more sense. NFR's Hybrid Detection Engine (HDE) provides network IT managers a way to protect against zero-day attacks, backdoors and other intrusions.

The NFR acquisition is part of Check Point's twin focus on security: network and data security, according to a statement.

"This acquisition is an important step in Check Point's strategy to continuously raise the level of security available to enterprises for protecting their mission-critical networks," Shwed said.

The Protect Data offer and NFR buy follows Check Point's ill-fated 2005 $225 million agreement to buy Sourcefire. That deal halted after American regulators questioned the purchase of a security software supplier to the U.S. by the Israeli Check Point.

Shwed said NFR provides the same technology background as Sourcefire.