Marshal, a UK-based email and Web security company, and 8e6 Technologies, a provider of URL filtering technology based in Orange, Calif., have agreed to merge.
The combined, privately held firm, Marshal8e6, will offer a holistic approach for dealing with the blended nature of threats on the Internet, said Marshal CEO Ed Macnair. IT managers want an integrated solution that deals with email threats but also malware-carrying websites, he said.
"This merger gives us the ability to address security across all forms of messaging, whether it's IM, peer-to-peer, email, or normal Web communications," he said. "It also gives us the ability to manage internal corporate email."
The merger positions Marshal8e6 as the largest independent provider of content security and a leader in secure Web gateways, Macnair said.
The deal is a merger of equals, with both companies having equal ownership in the new entity, Macnair said. Marshal8e6, which will be based in Orange, will have more than 20,000 customers in 96 countries.
The merger is a good deal for both companies, said Chenxi Wang, principal analyst at Forrester Research Inc.
"Marshal is traditionally focused on email and 8e6 is exclusively focused on the Web," she said. "Together they cover both email and Web, which is what a large player in content security should have. It's very rare for a pure play to cover only email or the Web. You need both."
Marshal does offer a secure Web gateway product but doesn't have the fairly large customer base that 8e6 has for Web security, she said. Marshal provides 8e6's URL filtering with solid antimalware functionality, she added.
"Combined together, they're a lot stronger than they were individually," Wang said. "In terms of how competitive they are in the overall market, there's still a little work for them in terms of product integration and support integration -- to be able to stand up to larger players like Websense Inc., McAfee Inc., which just bought Secure Computing Corp., and Symantec, which now has about 20% of the service market in content security."
Macnair will serve as Marshal8e6's chief strategy officer. George Shih is the interim CEO while the firm conducts a search for a new CEO, Macnair said.