20 May 2004 Security software giant Symantec is purchasing Brightmail, an anti-spam company, for $300 million.
Symantec bought an 11% stake in privately-held Brightmail in 2000 and will now acquire the remaining 89%, bringing its total valuation of the six-year-old company to $370 million.
Symantec swooped as Brightmail was preparing an initial public offering. It had hoped to raise $80 million but Brightmail CEO Enrique Salem said that combining with Symantec would “accelerate our growth and capitalize on this market which is moving faster than anyone can expect”.
“Many enterprise and ISP customers are already using the combined Symantec and Brightmail product,” said Salem. “It’s a hand-in-glove fit.”
Symantec, best known for Norton Antivirus, joined the IT industry’s ‘premier league’ of the 20 biggest software companies in 2002 when it posted revenues of $1.4 billion. In the year to the end of April, revenues rose by one-third to $1.8 billion.
The company’s growth has been fuelled by acquisitions, from IBM’s antivirus business in 1998 to ON Technology, an enterprise infrastructure management company, for which it paid $100 million in cash earlier this year. Brightmail will be Symantec’s fourth purchase since 2003.
Brightmail has prospered as a result of the proliferation of spam. It reported revenues of $26 million in 2003, up from $12.1 million the year before. It estimates that 63% of all Internet email is made up of spam — unsolicited commercial email — which its software filters for about 1,800 companies around the world.