Cisco spending $2.7B for Sourcefire, company that commercialized Snort open-source security tool

Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) Tuesday announced a $2.7 billion deal to buy Sourcefire (NASDAQ: FIRE), the 12-year-old intrusion detection and prevention security vendor whose founder invented the open-source Snort IDS.

Martin Roesch, Sourcefire's CTO, founded his company in 2001 to commercialize the open-source Snort IDS he invented in 1998, and the company went public in 2007.

"Cisco's acquisition of Sourcefire will help accelerate the realization of our vision for a new model of security across the extended network," Roesch said in a statement. He noted "Cisco's commitment to support our pace of innovation in both commercial and the open source community."

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Sourcefire has about 650 employees and reported $223.1 million in revenue during 2012.

Christopher Young, senior vice president in the Cisco Security group, says Sourcefire employees will join his unit.

The two companies will have a conference call this morning to further discuss details of the acquisition with the investment community.

Hilton Ramanski, Cisco's vice president of corporate development, said Sourcefire "aligns well with Cisco's future vision for security and supports the key pillars of our security strategy."

There is some overlap in security products, with both Cisco and Sourcefire competing in what's known as the next-generation firewall market. Cisco plans to hold briefings later today to answer questions about product strategy and its intentions related to open-source IDS Snort.

The Cisco acquisition of Sourcefire, in which Cisco will pay $76 per share in cash, is expected to close the second half of 2013.

The pending acquisition follows Cisco's purchase earlier this year of Cognitive Security, maker of software that employs artificial intelligence to spot threats.

Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG publication and website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security. Twitter: MessmerE. E-mail:

IDG News Service contributed to this report

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