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HP Confirms Aruba Bid, Promises Smooth Transition for Partners

**Editor’s Note: Please click here for a recap of the biggest channel-impacting mergers in Q4 2014.**

By Perry Vandell

After a few days of speculation, HP has announced its plans to acquire Aruba Networks for $3 billion. Each company’s board of directors has approved the deal.

“Enterprises are facing a mobile-first world and are looking for solutions that help them transition legacy investments to the new style of IT,” said Meg Whitman, chairman, president and CEO of HP. “By combining Aruba’s … wireless mobility solutions with HP’s … switching portfolio, HP will offer the simplest, most secure networking solutions to help enterprises easily deploy next-generation mobile networks.” 

According to an announcement page on Aruba’s website, the company – which provides wireless-network infrastructure for the building of Wi-Fi networks – will merge within HP’s Enterprise Group organization, with Aruba CEO Dominic Orr and Chief Strategy and Technology Officer Keerti Melkote at the helm.

HP expects the deal to close in the second half of its 2015 fiscal year, assuming Aruba shareholders agree to the acquisition. Given that rumors of an HP acquisition skyrocketed Aruba’s share value, it’s difficult to see shareholders shooting down the proposal.

But what does this acquisition mean for channel partners? Aruba promises that its relationships with partners will only deepen, and that partners can expect a broader portfolio of networking products in time. The company also plans to continue its support for wired and wireless infrastructure vendors.

We can expect that Aruba will continue to operate as an independent company, with no new changes for either company’s partner programs until the deal goes through. Both companies will have to evaluate their individual programs and determine what’s best for partners. Integration will be key; mergers of this magnitude, with such a large number of moving parts, can take time.

Proofpoint made some news of its own as well, announcing it intends to buy threat-intelligence company Emerging Threats for approximately $40 million. Proofpoint said it will add Emerging Threats’ detection technology with existing “Targeted Attack Protection and Threat Response security solutions” to enhance its own threat detection service.

According to Proofpoint CEO Gary Steele, the acquisition of Emerging Threats will give Proofpoint …

… the data it needs to better protect its customers.

“Better cyberattack intelligence enables better cybersecurity,” Steele said. “Proofpoint’s … advanced threat detection and response products for email and social media security and compliance will be further enhanced by pairing them with Emerging Threats’ deep research and intelligence capabilities.”

Emerging Threats takes millions of malware samples (and other types of cyber threats) to study how they’re distributed and what the command and control infrastructure is like. The company says the system filters and prioritizes the samples it collects while providing “actionable intelligence” to users.

David Knight, Proofpoint executive vice president and general manager of Information Security Products, believes the acquisition will give channel partners the tools they need to better advise their customers.

“Today’s acquisition provides Proofpoint’s channel partners with more tools to provide added value to their customers,” Knight told Channel Partners. “Increasingly, channel partners are serving as strategic advisors to organizations on how to respond to advanced threats. The combined threat intelligence from Proofpoint and Emerging Threats will better secure organizations against advanced threats and better enable partners to serve as strategic advisors.”

Emerging Threats sells its technology through a subscription-based cloud service and released an open source IDS/IPS ruleset that is reportedly used by more than 20,000 organizations. Proofpoint said it plans to support and invest in these existing products, along with the open-source community as a whole.


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