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.

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