FireEye, Mandiant merger named best cyber deal

FireEye's $843.5 million acqiusition of Mandiant was the best cyber-related deal of 2013, but it's also a lesson on the power of strategic partnerships and identifying complementary capabilities.

The merger of computer security companies FireEye and Mandiant seemed like a natural for the top executives of both firms. They had maintained a strategic partnership since early 2012 and the following year introduced an integrated endpoint product line. Their respective skill sets and security offerings—and au courant reputations for innovation in security technologies--fit together like hand and glove.

“I felt FireEye technology was the best at detecting emerging threats, and Mandiant was great at responding and containing the threats,” Kevin Mandia, chief operating officer of FireEye, told Washington Technology.

The merger, valued at $843.5 million, was picked as the best cybersecurity related deal in Washington Technology’s 2013 M&A Special Report.

By combining the security expertise of Mandiant and the threat prevention platform of FireEye, our customers could go from alert to fix in a manner that could prevent or minimize the impact of security breaches,” Mandia said.

Mandiant specializes in endpoint-based advanced threat detection and rapid incident response and mediation. With more than 2 million endpoints installed globally, it is well known for sending in emergency teams to root out attacks on enterprise computer systems.

FireEye pioneered the use of virtual machine technology in security with its Multi-Vector Virtual Machine engine. Officials said that with more than 2 million virtual machines deployed worldwide, FireEye’s virtual-machine based Web, email, datacenter and mobile security products provide real-time threat protection to more than 1,500 government and business customers.

Mandia founded Mandiant in 2004 as Red Cliff Consulting before rebranding it in 2006. The company reported $100 million in revenue in 2012, up more than 76 percent from the previous year. Mandiant made headlines last year when it issued a report that traced cyber attacks on more than 140 organizations to a unit the People’s Liberation Army, providing the strongest evidence yet of China’s participation in state-sponsored espionage.

Mandia was serving as Mandiant’s chief executive officer when the FireEye’s acquisition of the privately held Mandiant was completed on Dec. 30, 2013. FireEye’s board of directors appointed Mandia to the position of senior vice president and COO of FireEye as part of the merger.

When the purchase was announced, FireEye CEO David DeWalt said that the collective expertise of the two companies would let FireEye innovate new products at a faster pace and deliver more comprehensive security technologies to customers in an increasingly byzantine threat environment.

In addition, Mandiant’s endpoint products will let security teams make faster and more accurate decisions about potential security incidents “while eliminating blind sports by connecting the dots with FireEye’s network-based threat detection and prevention platform,” officials said.

Mandiant also appends to FireEye “unrivaled depth” in intelligence on next-generation cyber attacks continuously gathered from its 2 million endpoints and by battle-tested incident response and remediation teams, officials said.

“One of the many unique things Mandiant brings to FireEye is threat intelligence from the front lines,” Mandia said. “Mandiant responds to security breaches every day, and we see what attackers are doing first hand.  Therefore, we can better hone our threat prevention platform as we routinely combat the latest advanced threats.”

The merger is expected to boost FireEye’s business in the government security space. “The acquisition of Mandiant provides additional depth and bench strength to FireEye's growing business with the government,” Mandia said.