Deal expected in late March
Encryption software supplier Certicom Corp has agreed to a $73m (£53.4m) all-cash takeover by VeriSign Inc, in a deal that has a 40% premium on the hostile bid launched by Blackberry-maker Research In Motion Ltd last month.
In a statement the companies said the transaction must be approved by Certicom shareholders but is expected to close in March.
Explaining the thinking behind the offer, Jim Bidzos, interim CEO of VeriSign said “Certicom’s Elliptic Curve Cryptography technology allows VeriSign to develop adjacent market opportunities closely aligned with our core SSL business.”
Certicom’s ECC underpins the public key system that has been adopted by the National Security Agency for government communications and provides the most security per bit of any known public key scheme.
The deal comes days after Certicom won a court battle against RIM over its unsolicited takeover bid.
The manufacturer of the Blackberry tabled a $53m (£38.8m) offer in December to buy the content security software house. Certicom’s board refused the offer, saying it did not reflect the full value of its business.
VeriSign was launched by Bidzos to develop digital certificate infrastructure for online businesses and is best known for the registry and digital certificates that are used to prove authenticity of thousands of web sites.
Analysts believe the business is well placed to be able to extend its reach to provide the security infrastructure for a raft of new market sectors such as mobile messaging and identity services.
It is been through a major management shakeup and restructuring process over the past 18 months, and just last week named Mark McLaughlin as President and Chief Operating Officer alongside Bidzos.