At a glance.
- Microsoft is in discussions to buy TikTok.
- Google invests $450 million in ADT.
- Mimecast acquires MessageControl.
- Qualys acquires Spell Security.
- Funding rounds for Silverfort, Curv, RangeForce, Whistic, and Spyderbat.
Mergers and acquisitions.
Microsoft announced Sunday that it's in discussions with ByteDance to buy TikTok's US operations, with President Trump's blessing. The purchase might extend to TikTok's operations in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand as well. Microsoft stated:
"Following a conversation between Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and President Donald J. Trump, Microsoft is prepared to continue discussions to explore a purchase of TikTok in the United States. Microsoft fully appreciates the importance of addressing the President’s concerns. It is committed to acquiring TikTok subject to a complete security review and providing proper economic benefits to the United States, including the United States Treasury. Microsoft will move quickly to pursue discussions with TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, in a matter of weeks, and in any event completing these discussions no later than September 15, 2020....The discussions with ByteDance will build upon a notification made by Microsoft and ByteDance to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). The two companies have provided notice of their intent to explore a preliminary proposal that would involve a purchase of the TikTok service in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand and would result in Microsoft owning and operating TikTok in these markets. Microsoft may invite other American investors to participate on a minority basis in this purchase."
Reuters reports that ByteDance has agreed to divest TikTok's US operations completely, although Microsoft stressed that "[t]hese discussions are preliminary and there can be no assurance that a transaction which involves Microsoft will proceed." Forbes quotes various state-run Chinese media outlets as calling the potential deal "theft," "open robbery," and "tantamount to inviting potential U.S. purchasers to participate in an officially sanctioned 'steal' of Chinese technology."
London-based email security company Mimecast has acquired spearphishing and social engineering prevention firm MessageControl, which makes its headquarters in Chicago. Mimecast's CEO Peter Bauer said that "MessageControl is a natural complement to Mimecast's suite of cyber resilience solutions – from email and web security through brand protection, security awareness training, and data protection."
Foster City, California-based cloud security firm Qualys has acquired the software assets of India-based endpoint security startup Spell Security. Qualys stated that the "acquisition further strengthens Qualys' security and threat research, advances endpoint behavior detection capabilities, and brings rich telemetry to the Qualys Cloud Platform. In addition, Spell's deep knowledge of threat hunting and adversary techniques provides unique defense capabilities and analysis addressing the multi-vector threats customers are now faced with." The company added, "As with all Qualys acquisitions, key Spell Security employees have joined Qualys, including founder Rajesh Mony as CTO, Malware Detection Solutions."
Investments and exits.
Google is investing $450 million in home and business security company ADT, acquiring 6.6% ownership of the company, TechCrunch reports. ADT stated, "The partnership will combine Nest’s award-winning hardware and services, powered by Google’s machine learning technology, with ADT's installation, service, and professional monitoring network to create a more helpful smart home and integrated experience for customers across the United States." ADT will begin offering Google devices to its customers this year.
Israeli secure authentication company Silverfort has raised $30 million in a Series B round led by Aspect Ventures, with participation from Citi Ventures, Maor Investments, and existing investors TLV Partners, StageOne Ventures, and Singtel Innov8. The company says the funding "will allow Silverfort to expand its sales, marketing, engineering, and customer success teams around the world."
New York-based digital asset security provider Curv has raised $23 million in Series A funding from CommerzVentures, Coinbase Ventures, Digital Currency Group, Team8, and Digital Garage Lab Fund. Curv also unveiled tX, which it describes as "an elite group of cryptographers and engineers who use Curv's keyless technology to develop flexible deployment models for both crypto-native and traditional financial institutions." The company plans to use the funding "to continue Curv's strong international growth, for new solutions inside tX, product innovations, and hiring of top talent."
Estonia-based cybersecurity training platform provider RangeForce has raised €13.46 million (US$16 million) in a Series A round led by Energy Impact Partners, with participation from Paladin Capital Group, Trind, and Cisco Investments, Silicon Canals reports. The company will put the funding toward product development, bolstering its go-to-market strategy, and expanding internationally.
Utah-based vendor security assessment firm Whistic has raised $12 million in a Series A round led by Emergence, with participation from Album VC and existing investors, Crunchbase News reports. Gordon Ritter and Carlotta Siniscalco will join Whistic's board of directors. Whistic's CEO Nick Sorenson told Crunchbase, "We will be building out our product and sales and marketing teams, as well as strengthening the platform."
Texas-based threat discovery and investigation startup Spyderbat has raised $4.2 million in a seed funding round led by LiveOak Venture Partners and Benhamou Global Ventures, with participation from John McHale. The company says it will "use the capital to accelerate development of its product launch later this year."
Tortuga Logic's Board of Directors has appointed Andreas Kuehlmann as Executive Chair and Interim CEO. Tortuga's previous CEO and co-founder Jason Oberg will become the company's Chief Technology Officer.
Companies in the news.
Mobile app testing company HeadSpin will return up to $95 million of funding to investors after an internal review identified "financial irregularities," the Information reports. The company has also lowered the value of its Series C stock by almost 80% and replaced its CEO, Manish Lachwani, with its Chief Sales Officer, Rajeev Butani.
South African cybersecurity company SensePost has changed its name to "Orange Cyberdefense," and the company's ethical hacking team will be called "SensePost." Orange acquired SensePost last year. The rebranding represents a further integration of the businesses.