Networking, Security Integration Reaches ‘TippingPoint’

The trend of merging network and security technologies continued today as 3Com bought TippingPoint Technologies for approximately $430 million, the companies said.

The deal gives 3Com a proven Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) product at a time when thwarting network attacks is a priority among IT managers at corporations, colleges and universities and government agencies.

“The integration of TippingPoint into 3Com enhances our ability to deliver secure, converged networks to the enterprise market,” 3Com CEO Bruce Claflin said in a statement.

Marlborough, Mass.-based 3Com will pay $47 cash per outstanding share of TippingPoint stock, a 13 percent premium over the Friday’s closing price, company officials said.

TippingPoint CEO Kip McClanahan, who will assume the role of division president, said the closer relationship between networking and security technologies benefits a converged networking infrastructure.

“There must be a shift from general purpose to purpose-built security solutions that are tightly integrated, performing at line speed and in real time,” he said. “Joining our network-based IPS solution with 3Com makes this convergence of networking and security a reality.”

Company officials said TippingPoint’s expertise in securing and optimizing Internet Protocol telephony will complement 3Com’s Voice over Internet Protocol portfolio.

They also said TippingPoint customers will benefit from 3Com’s reach and infrastructure, while continuing to experience TippingPoint’s high-touch security expertise.

TippingPoint will operate as a division of 3Com from its in Austin headquarters. The company employs approximately 125 people.

The acquisition is subject to various standard closing conditions, including regulatory approval and approval by TippingPoint stockholders, and is expected to close in the third quarter of 3Com’s fiscal 2005, according to company officials.

It’s the latest in a string of partnerships or acquisition between network gear makers and security specialists. Last week, Nortel and Symantec announced a strategic alliance intended to address the growing number of security threats facing systems from networks to desktops.

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