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NSS Labs quietly acquired by private equity firm

Product testing company NSS Labs was acquired by private equity firm Consecutive, Inc., last October but neither company publicly announced the deal.

BREAKING -- Product testing company NSS Labs was quietly acquired by investment firm Consecutive, Inc. in October, though neither company has officially announced the deal.

SearchSecurity obtained documents that show NSS Labs merged with an unnamed subsidiary of Consecutive, a private equity firm based in San Francisco. The documents also show that NSS Labs' majority stockholders approved the deal on Oct. 23, but financial terms were not disclosed.

NSS Labs and Consecutive did not respond to requests for comment at press time.

Update: NSS Labs and Consecutive emailed the following statements to SearchSecurity: 

"This is a simple transaction and restructure. We restructured the business to better position for changes we see coming in the cybersecurity market and ensure we have the right partners and structure to deliver on our core mission," NSS Labs CEO Jason Brvenik said.

"Consecutive is pleased to have the opportunity to invest in NSS and see a strong future for the company as it delivers a critical service to the security market," said George Symons, managing director of Consecutive, Inc.

Neither company commented on why the acquisition had not been announced publicly.

Consecutive, which was founded in 2017, is a technology-focused investment firm targeting companies between $5 and $20 million, according to the company's website. It's unclear if Consecutive has other investments beyond NSS Labs, as none are listed on the website.

The last several years have been tumultuous for Austin-based NSS Labs; in February 2017, endpoint security vendor CrowdStrike filed a lawsuit against NSS Labs over negative test results for CrowdStrike's Falcon platform. The testing firm issued a "caution" rating for the vendor's product, which CrowdStrike disputed and accused NSS Labs of faulty testing.

In September 2018, NSS Labs filed an antitrust suit against CrowdStrike, Symantec, ESET and the non-profit Anti-Malware Testing Standards Organization (AMTSO). The suit alleged that the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to prevent NSS Lab from independently testing the three vendors' products.

Last May, CrowdStrike and NSS Labs unexpectedly ended their two-year legal battle and announced a comprehensive settlement that resolved CrowdStrike's role in the test results and antitrust suits. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but NSS Labs issued a "corrective statement" regarding the Falcon platform test results and made an apology to CrowdStrike.

NSS Labs dropped the antitrust suit altogether last December.

Other vendors have butted heads with NSS Labs in recent years. In 2018, Cisco refused to activate the Viptela software-defined WAN product the testing firm had purchased for a product review. Cisco's move sparked a debate over product licensing restrictions for independent testers.

Reporting in progress -- full story to follow.

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