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By | John Leyden 30th May 2008 15:22

Sourcefire snorts at unsolicited takeover bid

Barracuda circles security tools firm

Sourcefire has rejected an unsolicited takeover bid from Barracuda Networks. The firm, which develops a commercial version of Snort, the popular open source intrusion detection tool, said Barracuda's $187m bid "substantially undervalues" Sourcefire.

In a terse statement on Friday, Sourcefire's board said it was better off as a standalone firm. Joseph Chinnici, chairman of the board of Sourcefire said: "Sourcefire remains committed to maximizing stockholder value by continuing with its stated plans to complete its Chief Executive Officer transition and growing the business by executing on its strategy."

Barracuda, which is best known for its web and email security appliances, offered $7.50 per share to acquire Sourcefire on Thursday, representing a premium of 13 per cent on Sourcefire's closing price on 23 May. Barracuda said that the future of Snort as an open-source project was safe in its hands.

Barracuda's products use a combination of open source tecnologies (including Clam anti-virus) as well as proprietary technologies. Sourcefire acquired Clam anti-virus in August 2007.

In a letter to Sourcefire's board, Barracuda asserted that it was better equipped than Sourcefire existing management in dealing with patent threats from Trend Micro over Clam anti-virus.

Sourcefire's planned merger with Check Point in 2005 fell foul of US government security concerns over the implications of using technology controlled by an Israeli firm to protect sensitive government systems. Privately-owned Barracuda reckons its bid would avoid such regulatory stumbling blocks.

Sourcefire went public in March 2007, reaching a $16 high last June before slipping to a low of $5 in late January. Shares in the firm rose 97 cents to reach $7.60 in early trading on Friday. ®

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