Sophos Plans to Acquire German Data Security Company

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Security vendor Sophos plans to acquire Utimaco, a German company specializing in software that aims to prevent sensitive data from escaping corporate networks, an increasing focus with the rise in data breaches.

The offer will be tendered in August, said Graham Cluley, Sophos' senior technology consultant. German financial regulations require Sophos to announce its intention to acquire Utimaco before an offer is formally presented. The deal must also be approved by the German financial regulator.

Under preliminary terms, Sophos would buy 75 percent of Utimaco's outstanding shares at €14.75 (US$23.17) for a total of €217 million. In a separate transaction, it would buy the remaining 25 percent from Investcorp Technology Partners, a private equity company with offices in the U.S. , U.K. and Bahrain.

Utimaco's product portfolio includes its SafeGuard line, composed of more than a dozen products dealing with data security aspects such as managing cryptographic keys, e-mail encryption and safeguarding data on mobile devices.

It also sells software that enables mobile operators to provide data to law enforcement for terrorism cases or other criminal prosecutions. Utimaco calls it "Lawful interception management."

The deal is expected to be complete by October. At that time, Utimaco will become a business unit within Sophos focused on data security. Sophos plans to retain the "SafeGuard" branding.

Sophos, based in Abingdon, England, sells a variety of security software for the corporate market. It does not have a consumer offering.

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