The antivirus software industry underwent further consolidation last week, following the $640 million takeover purchase of Dr Solomons by US company Network Associates, which also owns the McAfee antivirus range.
The purchase comes after months of speculation that Symantec and Computer Associates had been holding similar talks with Dr Solomons. Jeff Leary, Dr Solomons CEO, refused to comment on the speculation.
Dr Solomons staged a management buyout in 1995, when it bought out co-founders Alan Solomon and his wife. The all-paper bid means Dr Solomons investors will each receive 0.28 shares of Network Associates common stock for each of the UK company's ordinary shares. Leary stands to be worth #24 million.
The acquisition will see the merged operation putting all its sales through the channel. Prior to the merger, Dr Solomons sold its high-end software direct.
Sarah Whipp, software manager at Action Computers, commented: 'We are actually quite happy. At the high end, Dr Solomons was going direct whereas McAfee is now a 100 per cent channel product.'
Whipp added that as long as the two companies matched their current investment in R&D, the consumer would also benefit from a combined product, which is set for release in early 1999.
John Bint, corporate account manager at Target Systems, one of only a handful of Vars dealing in both McAfee and Dr Solomons software, said Network Associates had recently shown a renewed commitment to the indirect channel in the UK.
He said: 'McAfee went through a period when its direct sales force was competing very aggressively with resellers. It now appears to have reassessed its priorities.'
Bint also pointed out: 'Unlike McAfee, Dr Solomons has a licensing agreement which sets a uniform price for its products. In the case of Network Associates' AV software, customers were taking advantage of our consultancy service and shopping around for the cheapest supplier.'
Bill Larson, Network Associates CEO, insisted there would be no scaling down of the channel as a result of the deal.
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