International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), the world’s largest seller of computer services, agreed to buy Israeli security-software maker Trusteer Inc., giving it fresh tools to fight the ever-escalating tactics of hackers.
IBM is paying more than $800 million for the company, said a person familiar with the deal, who asked not to be identified because financial terms weren’t disclosed. As part of the transaction, IBM will form a cybersecurity software lab in Israel with more than 200 researchers from both companies, according to a statement today.
Trusteer sells software to protect financial institutions’ employees and customers from hackers. The startup, backed by Israeli security entrepreneur Shlomo Kramer, aims to spot threats conventional desktop programs miss, such as malicious software on smartphones. IBM said Trusteer, which has offices in Tel Aviv and Boston, serves seven of the 10 largest U.S. banks.
“If we think of the most pressing problems which are facing our clients today in security, a lot of it is related to malware, fraud and sophisticated attacks,” Brendan Hannigan, general manager of IBM’s security systems division, said in an interview. “Trusteer had this strong technology that we didn’t have within our division.”
He declined to discuss the purchase price.
Trusteer Chief Executive Officer Mickey Boodaei said his company will be able to use IBM’s sales network to distribute its products more widely.
IBM has been buying up smaller software companies, which generally are more profitable than hardware and services companies, as it seeks to reach $20 in adjusted earnings per share by 2015, from $15.25 last year.
The Trusteer acquisition is also part of Armonk, New York-based IBM’s efforts to expand cloud-computing offerings -- services delivered to customers from remote data centers.
In June, IBM agreed to buy Dallas-based SoftLayer Technologies Inc., a cloud-computing storage provider that will help it compete with Amazon.com Inc. IBM paid almost $2 billion in that deal, a person familiar with the matter said at the time. SoftLayer had $335 million in revenue in 2012.
IBM fell 0.9 percent to $185.79 at the close in New York. The shares have dropped 3 percent this year.
Trusteer’s acquisition price of about $800 million was previously reported in the Israeli press.
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