Fortinet to buy Wi-Fi manufacturer Meru Networks for US$44m

Cyber security provider Fortinet says acquisition will bolster its secure wireless solutions, add enterprise customers and expand the total addressable market

Fortinet to buy Wi-Fi manufacturer Meru Networks for US$44m

Fortinet, a provider of cyber security solutions, is to acquire Wi-Fi networking firm Meru Networks, it announced yesterday (27 May 2015). Fortinet will pay $1.63 per Meru share in cash, an equity value of approximately US$44 million for the transaction. The acquisition is expected to close during the third quarter of calendar year 2015, subject to customary closing conditions.

Meru was founded in 2002 and completed its initial public offering in 2010. The company is based in Sunnyvale, California and has more than 300 employees worldwide. For the full year ended December 2014, Meru reported revenue of $90.9 million.

“The acquisition of Meru Networks maps to our overall security vision of combining strong network security with ubiquitous connectivity,” said Ken Xie, founder, chairman and CEO of Fortinet.

“We expect this to accelerate our innovation through the delivery of new solutions and services to help enterprises of all sizes deploy, manage and secure wired and wireless networks in a mobile era. We believe the extension of our market-leading end-to-end security platform will increase our growth opportunities and benefit our customers and partners globally.”

Commenting on the acquisition, Shane Buckley, CEO of rival Wi-Fi solutions provider Xirrus, said: “News of the Meru Networks acquisition by Fortinet this morning is a surprise given Fortinet's position as a leader in SME security, rather than an enterprise vendor. The acquisition suggests Fortinet is looking for a deeper customer base in secure wireless and to upsell Meru customers with Fortinet gear.

“This move by Fortinet is another example of market consolidation in the wireless space, following other big name acquisitions like HP and Aruba Networks. Xirrus believes this consolidation will continue throughout 2015.”

Fortinet said the acquisition of Meru Networks adds an experienced research and engineering team to help accelerate Fortinet’s strategy to secure and manage wired and wireless devices together at any entry point to the network.

In addition, Meru’s portfolio of more than 33 awarded patents and 35 pending patents bolsters Fortinet’s more than 210 issued and allowed patents worldwide, and over 165 pending patent applications, and represent innovation that will benefit the more than 14,000 Meru customers and 210,000 Fortinet customers worldwide.

“The combination of Fortinet and Meru is expected to strengthen our position in the overall enterprise wireless market, addressing the requirements of CIOs to provide secure, uninterrupted connectivity for their highly mobile end-users," said Dr. Bami Bastani, president and CEO of Meru Networks.

"Meru's technology differentiation, and its position as the only ONF-certified SDN wireless solution, along with Fortinet's core, edge and access security solutions, will provide a broader solutions portfolio for our sales teams and channel partners.”

Meru’s broad solution set includes:

• Access points that deliver wireless connectivity to support data, voice, and video applications with superior performance, low latency and reliability.
• Controllers to optimize wireless traffic across access points and client devices meeting mission-critical enterprise demands for wireless connectivity.
• SDN enabled Wi-Fi system software that seamlessly manages and secures wired and wireless LANs, as well as efficiently provisions Wi-Fi enabled end-user devices.
• Cloud and virtual wireless controllers and appliances that provide unprecedented choice and flexibility in deploying and scaling wireless infrastructure, whether through a data centre or private cloud environment.

Fortinet’s secure Wi-Fi solutions include its FortiAP secure wireless access points and FortiWiFi integrated security appliances for enterprise branch offices and small businesses have been among the fastest growing products in the company’s ‘advanced technologies’ portfolio.

The company stated that the addition of Meru’s intelligent Wi-Fi solutions to the Fortinet portfolio extends the delivery of a secure, uninterrupted user experience – anytime anywhere – providing peak performance in environments requiring high capacity load and a high-density of wireless users, such as enterprise, education, healthcare, and hospitality.

FortiGuard Mobile Security subscription service
In a separate press release, Fortinet announced the launch of a new FortiGuard Mobile Security subscription service. Deployable on its industry-leading FortiGate integrated security appliances, this new service is designed to protect mobile devices across the enterprise, particularly in BYOD scenarios.

Described as synergistic with the Meru acquisition, the FortiGuard Mobile Security subscription services strengthen Fortinet’s solutions platform and reinforce its commitment to protecting enterprise customers’ critical assets in both wired and wireless environments.


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