Internet Players Use Acquisitions For Make Over

Taking a pre-emptive position with its hardware portfolio, Cisco Systems
said it is very close to acquiring privately held
Riverhead Networks. Cupertino, Calif.-based Riverhead develops security
software that protects against Distributed Denial of Service (“DDoS”)
attacks and other security threats in enterprise and
service provider networks. The all-cash deal worth approximately $39 million
still has to clear government regulation, but Cisco execs told they’re confident that things will close sooner than
the end of April.

Once the paperwork is complete, Cisco senior director Jeff
Platon said Riverhead and its 44 employees including engineers in Israel
will become part of Cisco’s Internet Switching Business Unit and begin
selling its products through Cisco sales channels.

“Since Cisco was a minority investor in Riverhead, we were privy to the
technology, the architecture and the traction they were getting with large
customers. We were able to see those situations first hand,” Platon said.
“Their technology has gotten a lot of attention in sectors like global
media, worldwide gaming, large application vendors and financial companies.”

San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco has made a number of security announcements
in recent weeks including the acquisition of Twingo Systems and the introduction
of new hardware and software. Cisco competitors such as Juniper
Networks and 3Com are making similar moves in the security space.

Riverhead’s technology brings two aspects to Cisco’s table: detection
software that looks for traffic anomalies and separation software that
targets the rogue packets and isolates them into unconnected containers,
letting normal traffic proceed. Platon said Cisco found that the combination
is excellent for thwarting same day or “day-zero” attacks because
Riverhead’s technology can “move at gigabit rate speed, sale up into larger
clusters and function in high-throughput environments.”

Also concerned about expanding its products, digital security company
VeriSign said it has purchased Unimobile, which makes
mobile messaging solutions for carriers and enterprises. Unimobile was
formerly a business unit within Electronics For Imaging ,
a digital imaging and print management software and services provider. Under
the terms of the agreement, Mountain View, Calif.-based VeriSign will pay
Foster City, Calif.-based EFI $5.25 million in cash and promised to service
the existing Unimobile contracts.

VeriSign said it will combine Unimobile’s technology to build out a new
set of wireless short message service (SMS), multimedia messaging service
(MMS) and secure content delivery products.

The acquisition is just one of VeriSign’s latest steps in its extreme
makeover from the legendary “.com” domain registrar steward to a business
and entertainment content delivery player.

With Unimobile’s assets, VeriSign said it would serve as the mediating
point between carriers. The company currently has experience bridging
protocols between mobile devices, including pagers, one- and two-way SMS
phones, WAP phones, PDAs and mobile messaging platforms. Also well practiced
in encryption and spam filtering, VeriSign said it use the acquired
technology to push content delivery with third parties via a special content
hub. The hub features “intelligent rendering” technology that adapts to the
screen size and interconnects desktop-based instant messaging applications
and offers complete e-mail support.

“Secure delivery of SMS, MMS and content is a key component for growth of
wireless messaging and data services in the enterprise market,” said Yankee
Group senior analyst Linda Barrabee. “VeriSign’s acquisition of the
Unimobile assets extends its enterprise messaging capabilities and gives it
access to a far-reaching network of global carriers.”

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