Google is buying cybersecurity firm Mandiant for $5.4 billion

LONDON, UK: Alphabet Inc’s Google is buying cybersecurity firm Mandiant Inc for $5.4 billion.

A shift to remote working during the pandemic, as well as the Russia-Ukraine conflict, has fueled a spike in cyberattacks and bolstered demand for security software, a market expected to more than double to $352.25 billion by 2026 from 2020, according to research firm Mordor Intelligence.

The deal will enhance Google’s cloud computing business, which generates more than $19 billion annually, and beef up its security operations and advisory services.

Google’s $23 per share offer represents a premium of about 53% to Mandiant’s stock price levels before reports emerged of Microsoft eyeing a deal. Mandiant shares were down 3% in morning trading on Tuesday, while Alphabet edged up 0.5%.

Mandiant, which focuses on cyber-incident response and cybersecurity testing, became a standalone entity last year after acquirer FireEye Inc sold its products business and the FireEye name for $1.2 billion to a consortium led by private equity firm Symphony Technology Group.

In adding more cybersecurity services, Google is trying to differentiate its cloud computing business from that of Amazon and Microsoft. The rival companies have had a larger share of the cloud market for leasing servers, computing power and internet services to other companies.

The acquisition of Mandiant, which is based in Virginia and has more than 2,300 employees, is Google’s second-largest deal ever, trailing only the company’s $12.5 acquisition of the phone company Motorola that was announced in 2011, according to Dan Ives, an analyst with Wedbush Securities.

The deal is likely to draw antitrust scrutiny. Authorities in the United States and European Union have pledged to look more closely at acquisitions made by Google and other tech giants.

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