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Why Symantec Sold Its Web Security Business to DigiCert

Anne Shields - Author

Aug. 31 2017, Updated 9:06 a.m. ET

Symantec’s Web Security business sale

Earlier in this series, we discussed Symantec’s (SYMC) acquisition of Fireglass and how it could enhance the company’s Integrated Cyber Defense platform. Along with its fiscal 1Q18 earnings release, on August 2, 2017, Symantec announced that it sold its Website Security business and related PKI (public key infrastructure) assets to DigiCert. 

This transaction yielded Symantec $950 million in cash as well as a 30% equity ownership in DigiCert, meaning that Symantec sold 70% of its Website Security business for $950 million. The acquisition is expected to close in the next fiscal quarter.


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Symantec purchased its Website Security business from VeriSign in 2010. In 2012, the company bought the remaining interest in VeriSign Japan (EWJ). Despite being included in its Enterprise Security segment, these businesses were never marketed or sold as a part of the company’s Integrated Cyber Defense Platform.

With respect to its sale, Greg Clark, Symantec’s CEO, said, “Transitioning our Website Security and related PKI solutions to DigiCert allows us to sharpen our enterprise focus on delivering unparalleled protection for the cloud generation through Symantec’s Integrated Cyber Defense Platform.”

Starting on December 1, 2017, DigiCert would be responsible for the validation and the issuance of all SSL certificate brands that were earlier categorized under Symantec’s umbrella.

DigiCert marks Symantec’s recent association with private equity firms

DigiCert offers a comprehensive portfolio of security offerings for web services as well as IoT (Internet of Things) devices. It is majority-owned by Thoma Bravo, a private equity firm.

According to a Netcraft SSL[1. Secure Sockets Layer] survey conducted in July and as the chart above shows, Symantec commands 44% of the Extended Validation SSL certificate space and 30% of organization-validated certificates. Apart from bringing “growth opportunities” in IoT to DigiCert, Symantec’s Web Certificate business would provide a new approach to the SSL space.


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