Websense in line for $1 billion sale?


Web filtering firm Websense is considering selling up and could go for around $1 billion (714 million), according to a report.

Websense has explored the idea of selling before and is now looking at doing so with the assistance of investment bank Qatalyst Partners, according to a Wall Street Journal article citing people familiar with the matter.

The San Diego-based firm told IT PRO it did not "comment on rumours or speculation."

Other security companies and private equity firms are likely to be interested in bidding for Websense, the unnamed sources said.

Last year, chief executive (CEO) Gene Hodges told Reuters he would be open to selling up. That same publication reported Websense had spoken to a number of suitors, but had not entered into any formal sales process.

In February, the firm revealed some positive 2010 results, beating market expectations.

It posted $86.4 million in revenue, up 8.4 per cent from the fourth quarter of 2009, having closed a number of seven-figure deals in the fourth quarter.

If Websense does get snapped up by a tech giant, it will be another sign the security market has become a highly lucrative one.

Last year saw one of the biggest-ever acquisitions in the tech industry when Intel bought McAfee for $7.8 billion. That deal has now been approved by both European and US regulatory bodies.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.