Security specialist Check Point Software has signed an agreement to acquire Zone Labs for $113m.
Analysts have indicated that the move will help Check Point gain market share against Symantec in the consumer and small to medium sized business sectors.
Check Point said that Zone Labs' software will help strengthen its perimeter, internal and web security software portfolio, and provide it with an opportunity to target the consumer internet security market.
Mike Thompson, principal research analyst at Butler Group, told vnunet.com: "Symantec already has a lead in the consumer space with Norton AntiVirus.
"But if Zone Labs has 25 million customers worldwide then this will help Check Point rapidly to gain market share."
Zone Labs claimed that its Integrity enterprise software, IMsecure instant messaging security software and ZoneAlarm Pro personal firewall protect more than 25 million internet users and 1,100 enterprise customers from security threats posed by hackers, data theft and malicious code.
Butler Group also believes that the deal will allow Check Point to target new markets without having to adapt its existing software.
"Check Point's pricing is geared towards enterprise-class software and it would be hard to scale it down to SMEs and individual users," said Thompson.
"Buying Zone Labs provides it with the technology and pricing models to target these markets."
Check Point will gain access to more than 200 Zone Labs employees if the acquisition, which is still subject to shareholder and regulatory approval, closes as expected in the first quarter of 2004.
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