Security Strategy, Plan, Budget

IT consulting group buys out Tumbleweed

A global software firm that specializes in collaborative businesssolutions announced Friday it is acquiring messaging security providerTumbleweed Communications.

Scotsdale, Ariz.-based Axway, a subsidiary of France-based Sopra Group, an IT consultancy, plans to pay $2.70 per share of all Tumbleweed stock.

"Tumbleweed is a natural fit with Axway," Tumbleweed Chief ExecutiveOfficer Jim Scullion said Friday in a statement. "We are confident thatthe combined product offering will benefit customers from bothcompanies and increase long-term growth prospects."

Combined, Axway and Redwood City, Calif.-based Tumbleweed, best known forits managed file transfer and email encryption offerings and which recently announced an email firewall, will offersolutions for some 11,000 customers. The two firms already share anumber of prominent clients, including JPMorgan Chase, General Motorsand the federal Food and Drug Administration.

Mike Rothman, founder of Security Incite, an analyst firm, said he questions how Tumbleweed technology will integrate into Axway products. But a move like this one seemed inevitable for Tumbleweed, which went public in 1999 and has had consistent difficulty meeting Wall Street expectations.

"I view this as much of a financial transaction as anything else," Rothman told on Friday. "Tumbleweed had to do something fast. When you're going nowhere, anywhere is somewhere. All the shareholders will be happy to get their money out."

The merger, to close in the third quarter of this year, is expected to generate revenue of about $362 million in 2009.

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