When leaders at Alphabet googled “cyber security company for sale,” Virginia-based Mandiant turned up as the top hit.
The Big Tech behemoth gobbled up the trusted digital detective for $5.4 billion on Tuesday — its second-largest acquisition of all time — just as Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine prompts widespread fears of offshore cyberattacks through the business world.
Founded in 2004, Mandiant has gained the confidence of US intelligence agencies for its detailed reports on cyberattacks waged against American computer systems by foreign state-sponsored hackers, most often from Russia, China, and Iran. In early 2020, CEO Kevin Mandia famously detected one of the worst cyberattacks in history, when suspected Russian attackers exploited software from SolarWinds, Microsoft, and VMWare to spy on thousands of global organizations – including several major US federal agencies.
Google expects that the all-cash, $23-per-share purchase will team Mandiant with its existing cloud-native security to provide across-the-board protection for users of all its cloud services. In turn, the acquisition could give the search giant a leg-up in the security market as competitors scurry to boost their own product offerings:
- Microsoft, which was reported to have shown interest in Mandiant last month, has already purchased three cybersecurity providers since June, including ReFirm Labs, RiskIQ and CloudKnox Security.
- In the last few years, chipmaker Broadcom spent $10.7 billion on Symantec’s security business, while networking giant Cisco coughed up $2.35 billion for Duo Security.
Money For Something: The acquisition is Google’s most expensive since its game-changing purchase of Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion back in 2011 — a move that turned the then software-only company into an Apple-esque hardware and software manufacturer. But while the company expects the deal to close later this year, it could face regulatory scrutiny, just as its $2.1 billion deal for Fitbit is facing right now.
Silver Lining: Even with the worries of cyberattacks, some cloud businesses are booming. Amazon Web Services reported on Tuesday last year’s sales rose 37 percent to $62.2 billion, despite recent outages that affected millions of users. That’s also a 30 percent increase over 2020’s sales, when the pandemic forced many companies to quickly pivot to cloud technology.