Fortinet is shooting down rumors the company is in talks with IBM.
Fortinet is refuting rumors that the company is in acquisition talks with IBM.
Officials at both companies initially declined to comment about the rumors Nov. 1, but Fortinet later published a press release stating
following: "Bloomberg News cited sources incorrectly indicating that
Fortinet is in acquisition discussions with IBM...[Fortinet] is focused
on building a strong independent company and is not in acquisition
discussions with IBM."
The rumors caused Fortinet's stock to jump, with the price
closing today up 6.2 percent despite the company's denial. In addition,
Fortinet's rebuttal to the news reports has not kept analysts from
speculating on what the deal would mean for both vendors.
Andrew Hay, an analyst with The 451 Group, said his firm had been
discussing it internally and was not sure "if there is a fit for
Fortinet within IBM." Eric Ogren, founder of the Ogren Group, however,
was more optimistic.
"Fortinet has proven that their UTMs [unified threat management
appliances] can satisfy enterprise-scale markets, which would add
a nice capability for IBM," Ogren said. "I wouldn't worry too much
about a Proventia overlap - in fact Proventia may even create extra
drag for IBM security appliances. And I'm sure that Proventia has
taught IBM that the value of the security device is the multi-year
revenue stream generated by the subscriptions for continual
pattern updates. Perhaps Fortinet has something to
offer IBM for securing virtual data centers."
He noted, however, that there are some sizable risks.
"The first is retaining key contributors of a hardware
security product in an enterprise software and services company
may be a challenge," Ogren added. "Proventia has been hurt deeply by
loss of key people because of culture and 'fit.' The second is that
most of IBM's security acquisitions integrate with enterprise software,
which is not something that could happen with Fortinet. For
instance, Watchfire and Guardium are assimilating into
business units, ISS Proventia leverages global services - not
at all clear where Fortinet would find a nurturing organization."