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Check Point to purchase Nokia’s security appliance business

Check Point Software Technologies plans to acquire the security appliance business of Nokia, the two longtime partners announced on Monday.

Finland-based mobile device giant Nokia, which also has offices in Mountain View, Calif., said in September that it was planning to sell off its underperforming security appliance division, choosing to instead focus on its handset business.

Check Point turned out to be the buyer for an undisclosed sum. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2009.

Israel/Redwood City, Calif.-based Check Point has partnered with Nokia for about 10 years. Nokia's security appliances already are built to work with Check Point's firewall, virtual private network (VPN) and unified threat management (UTM) software.

"Adding Nokia's security appliance portfolio into Check Point's broad range of security solutions is a natural conclusion of our long collaboration and will assure a smooth path forward for our mutual customers," Gil Shwed, Check Point's chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

The deal allows Check Point to tap into Nokia's more than 23,000 worldwide security appliance customers.

The acquisition likely means Check Point will drop Sourcefire as a partner, said Alan Shimel, chief strategy officer at network security vendor StillSecure.


"I think Nokia was becoming a real channel for them," he told

In August 2006, Nokia announced its security appliances would be optimized to run Snort, Sourcefire's intrusion prevention system technology. Five months earlier, Check Point and Sourcefire canceled a proposed $225 million merger.

Government officials had raised objections about the acquisition of Sourcefire by Israel-based Check Point due to national security issues. Based in Maryland, Sourcefire creates intrusion detection software that protects classified information on military and intelligence systems.

"If Check Point was allowed to buy Sourcefire, how different would the security landscape be today?" Shimel said. "And how different would [Monday's] deal have looked now?"

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