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Why Is HP Thinking about Selling TippingPoint?

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TippingPoint’s product line

In the prior part of this series, we discussed rumors about Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) wanting to sell its network security business, TippingPoint. Although HP is considered a niche player in the enterprise network firewall space, competition in this space is intense, according to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant.

Although Cisco (CSCO) leads the security appliance market, it’s Palo Alto Networks (PANW) that has experienced the fastest year-over-year (or YoY) revenue growth in 2014. Intel’s McAfee (INTC) and Barracuda Networks are other prominent players in this space.

TippingPoint’s product line is comprised of the following:

  • Next-Generation Firewall
  • DVLabs
  • Next-Generation IPS (Intrusion Prevention System)
  • Security Management System
  • TippingPoint ThreatLinQ

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TippingPoint’s technology is not in line with HP’s broader security framework

TippingPoint’s firewall technology for protecting networks is not exactly in the same line as HP’s broader security strategy. HP’s security strategy is interested in rapidly growing areas like encryption, application, and data protection, as well as intrusion detection.

To boost its encryption business, HP acquired Voltage Security, a data security provider that helps customers protect their data. Now HP’s enterprise security portfolio is made up of Voltage Security, TippingPoint, ArcSight, and Fortify security technologies.

Other security assets also stand a chance of sell-off

According to Ananda Baruah, an analyst at Brean Capital, “HP has been vocal about looking to sell assets that they consider non-core, and that they are not through that process yet.” Considering the company is pursuing the sale of TippingPoint, it’s highly likely that HP is on the lookout for potential buyers for its other security assets: ArcSight and Fortify. ArcSight monitors and analyzes corporate networks for breaches. Fortify provides application security.

Intense competition as well as TippingPoint’s security business not being in line with the company’s security strategy are likely factors that pushed HP to consider the sale.

If you’re bullish about HP, you might consider investing in the Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK), which invests about 1.25% of its holdings in HP.

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