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SAN DIEGO (
TheStreet) -- Shares of
Websense(WBSN) surged Wednesday after the
Wall Street Journal reported that the security specialist may be on the block.
Citing people familiar with the matter, the
Journal said that Websense is exploring a sale with the help of investment bank
Qatalyst Partners, which also worked on
HP's(HPQ - Get Report) acquisition of
EMC's(EMC) purchase of
Websense could command a price tag of around $1 billion, according to the sources, who explained that the firm may decide against a sale if offers do not meet its expectations.
Websense shares climbed $2.42, or 11.85%, to close at $22.85 on Wednesday, reversing the broader retreat in tech stocks that saw the
Nasdaq lose 1.89% over the session.
Rumors of Websense as an attractive acquisition target are
not new, and a deal would continue the recent spate of security M&A that saw
Intel(INTC) spend $7.7 billion on
McAfee and HP
grab ArcSight for $1.7 billion.
HP, which rolled out its
long-term strategy earlier this week, has been touted as a possible WebSense suitor. The tech bellwether is expected to make more acquisitions in both software and security, particularly after HP CEO Leo Apotheker highlighted the security challenges of cloud computing during an event in San Francisco earlier this week.
Websense, which has a market cap of $928 million, sells software for securing Web, email, mobile and social networking data. The
Symantec(SYMC) rival lists
Microsoft(MSFT) as a partner.
Neither Websense nor Qatalyst has yet responded to
TheStreet's request for comment on this story.
--Written by James Rogers in New York.
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