In a bid to strengthen its position in the fast-growing data-loss prevention market, IT security company McAfee ( MFE) said it has agreed to buy privately owned enterprise security software company SafeBoot for $350 million in cash. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based McAfee, whose software helps manage more than 100 million desktops, hopes SafeBoot's products will give its customers a greater variety of security management options including encryption and access control. The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter pending regulatory reviews. Shares of McAfee closed up 43 cents, or 1.1%, to $39.62 Monday. The stock was off 62 cents, or 1.5%, to $39 in recent after-hours trading. SafeBoot, which specializes in email encryption and data protection, lets its users encrypt individual files and folders, as well as their entire local hard drive for a number of devices including laptops, smart phones, USB drives and PDAs. "SafeBoot's mobile security solutions address a critical pain point for customers -- the protection of confidential and proprietary information," said Dave DeWalt, chief executive officer and president of McAfee, in a statement. "With the acquisition of SafeBoot, McAfee becomes a leader in the fast-growing $1 billion encryption market and we will be able to offer a complete data protection solution." McAfee is the latest IT security company jostling for a share of the multibillion dollar data-loss-prevention business. In August, storage specialist EMC ( EMC) said its security division, RSA Security,
acquired privately held data security company Tablus. Earlier this year, Symantec ( SYMC) launched its suite of data security products.
McAfee hopes to integrate SafeBoot's encryption franchise with its data loss prevention products and its centralized management console, the ePolicyOrchestrator. SafeBoot has more than 4,200 customers. SafeBoot's products, targeted at mobile phones, will also help accelerate McAfee's existing mobile security software by allowing it to offer a suite of device protection and data security products, McAfee said in a statement. McAfee expects the transaction to dilute 2008 earnings, including charges, but not have an impact on its 2008 EPS, excluding charges. SafeBoot's technologies and McAfee's data loss prevention products will become a new data protection product business unit after the close of the transaction, said McAfee.