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WatchGuard Technologies has announced its intention to acquire endpoint security vendor Panda Security.

In a combination of network and endpoint technologies, WatchGuard said that the combined entity will provide centralized management of advanced threat detection and response functionality fueled by AI, behavior profiling techniques and security event correlation.

Prakash Panjwani, CEO of WatchGuard, said that in the short term, the acquisition of Panda Security “makes best-in-class endpoint detection and response, threat hunting, endpoint AV, email security, patching and data compliance and encryption accessible to our customer base through a trusted vendor and their IT solution provider of choice.”

Panjwani said that businesses face an increasingly sophisticated and evolving threat landscape, scarcity of trained security professionals and an increasingly porous perimeter. “As a result, network security, advanced endpoint protection, multi-factor authentication, secure networking and threat detection and response capabilities are consistently ranked as top security investment areas by IT decision-makers and IT solution providers who serve them,” he said.

“By bringing the companies together, we enable our current and future customers and partners to consolidate their fundamental security services under a single brand, backed by the innovation and quality that is a core part of both companies’ DNA.”

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals, and is expected to close in Q2 2020.

“We are thrilled to merge with WatchGuard because of the new scale and portfolio access it provides to Panda Security customers and partners,” said Juan Santamaria Uriarte, CEO of Panda Security.

“Together, we look forward to building a security platform that bridges the network and user perimeter, with capabilities that are unmatched in the cybersecurity market.”

Paul McKay, senior analyst at Forrester, told Infosecurity that he felt the acquisition makes sense for WatchGuard to expand its reach and dominance in the SMB market, and for the small MSP/MSSP space serving this market. “It takes them into endpoint security, allowing them to offer a complete package offering,” he said, which marks two change factors:

  1. It reduces choice in the European SMB market to use home grown European firms for their AV and Network Security. These firms are now left with the option of WatchGuard or looking overseas for their protection needs, which some will not appreciate.
  2. It also gives WatchGuard an interesting proposition to compete with telcos across Europe, many of whom are building packaged offerings or bundles of protection aimed at mid-market and SMB.

“The impact of this acquisition in this price challenged segment of the market will also be interesting to observe, SMB firms won’t appreciate paying more for their protections as a result of this acquisition,” McKay said.

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