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Senior Staff Writer

Cisco Snorts up Sourcefire in $2.7bn acquisition

Jul 23, 20133 mins
Cisco SystemsIT LeadershipTechnology Industry

Cisco announces they will acquire Sourcefire, the company best known for the open source IDS tool Snort

On Tuesday, Cisco announced that they’ve moved to acquire Sourcefire, the company best known for the open source IDS tool Snort. The deal will see Cisco pay $76 per share for Sourcefire, for a total purchase price of roughly $2.7 billion.

Cisco says that the acquisition of Sourcefire plays well into their “build-buy-partner innovation strategy,” adding that the merger of the two will add a team with “deep security DNA” to the networking and infrastructure giant, in order to help them further their push into the network and offer customers more security in more places.

“Sourcefire aligns well with Cisco’s future vision for security and supports the key pillars of our security strategy. Through our shared view of the critical role the network must play in cybersecurity and threat defense, we have a unique opportunity to deliver the most comprehensive approach to security in the market,” Hilton Romanski, vice president, Cisco Corporate Development said in a statement.

The acquisition was approved by the board of directors for each firm. While many details were left out of the announcement, Cisco did confirm they were paying a premium for Sourcefire. The deal is set for $76 per share in cash in exchange for each share of Sourcefire, as well as the assumption of all outstanding equity awards for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $2.7 billion.

Sourcefire has about 650 employees, and during conference call on Tuesday it was announced that all of them would be moving to Cisco to work in a division headed by Cisco’s Chris Young. In addition, many of the senior management from Sourcefire will take on roles within Cisco in order to help drive security strategies going forward.

“This was a move Cisco had to make. Pure and simple,” wrote Securosis’ Mike Rothman in a blog post.

“The trends are clear. Enterprises are re-architecting their perimeter security environments.”

Further, Rothman adds, in order to make this deal work, Cisco will need to make sure that Sourcefire’s founder and CTO, Marty Roesch, and his team take over the reigns for security strategy.

“…if they can’t keep Marty visible and engaged (beyond his contractual commitment), there will be a mass exodus as we’ve seen from all of the other big deals in the security space…This is not a slam dunk for Cisco, they still have to do the work and regain their network security mojo — which has been long gone. But they really didn’t have a choice. They wrote a big check to solve a big problem. And it’s not a lot more complicated than that.”