Symantec to Buy VeriSign Authentication Business in $1.28B Deal

After a day of rumors, Symantec confirms plans to buy VeriSign's identity and authentication security business and outlines its strategy. The deal, expected to close later in 2010, follows other moves by VeriSign to trim down its security business.

Twenty-four hours after acquisition rumors hit the press, Symantec announced it has signed a definitive agreement to buy VeriSign's identity and authentication business.

Symantec will pay $1.28 billion, and will acquire VeriSign Trust Services along with VeriSign's SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate services, PKI (public-key infrastructure) services and the VIP (VeriSign Identity Protection) Authentication Service.

According to Symantec, the acquisition will ultimately "help businesses incorporate identity security into a comprehensive framework ... and securely adopt new computing models," including cloud computing and mobile computing.

"With the anonymity of the Internet and the evolving threat landscape, people and organizations are struggling to maintain confidence in the security of their interactions, information and identities online," Enrique Salem, CEO of Symantec, said in a statement. "At the same time, people's personal and professional lives have converged and they want to use their various digital devices to access information wherever they are without jeopardizing their privacy ... We believe the solution to this dilemma lies in the ubiquity of identity-based security."

To that end, Symantec plans to combine VeriSign's SSL Certificate Services with Symantec Critical System Protection or Protection Suite for Servers to "help organizations ensure a higher level of security on their Web servers." In addition, Symantec said it would use VeriSign VIP to complement the Identity Safe technology in Norton products and VeriSign's SSL business to "become the leading source of trust online."

VeriSign sold its managed security services business to SecureWorks and its security consulting business to AT&T in 2009. The sell-off was part of a move by VeriSign to focus on its Internet registry business.

The deal with Symantec is expected to close later in 2010.