Troubled Irish security firm Baltimore Technologies has finally offloaded its Content email security business to rival Clearswift for a fraction of the price it originally paid.
Baltimore bought Content for £700m two years ago to provide software such as the MIMEsweeper email filtering service, but today's sale raised just £20.5m for the company, which is tipped to run out of cash by the summer.
Chief executive Bijan Khezri said the deal would allow Baltimore to refocus on core activities and "build a competitive cash generating business".
Paul Rutherford, chief marketing officer at Clearswift, confirmed that Content would run under the Clearswift name, and that sales would continue to be moved predominantly through the channel.
"Both in terms of product and geography I believe that the two companies complement each other," he told vnunet.com.
Rutherford added that the hand over should be completed by the end of March, pending the approval of Baltimore shareholders.
In November last year, Marks & Spencer famously ditched Baltimore's MAILsweeper product in favour of a Clearswift alternative due to problems in setting policy control.
Clive Longbottom, of analyst group Quocirca, said that the sale of Content would give Baltimore a fighting chance of survival.
"It allows them to get back and concentrate on what they're good at, because it never understood the Content side of things," he explained. "With rivals Entrust posting good figures and VeriSign teaming up with IBM Global Services, I think the chances of survival are slim, but they've given themselves a chance."
For the comparatively small sum of £20.5m, Clearswift has become the dominant player in its market overnight.
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