Monday, January 16, 2012

Symantec Buys LiveOffice for $115M

Symantec has acquired email archiving specialist LiveOffice for $115 million, and intends to use that software to put e-discovery applications in the cloud, officials said today.

The pairing had long been rumored, as the companies have a history together. Symantec began reselling LiveOffice's technology in 2010, later rebranding it as Enterprise Vault.cloud, while LiveOffice CEO Nick Mehta and Vice President of Sales and Business Development Jim O'Hara both previously worked at Symantec.

Symantec bought another email specialist, MessageLabs, for $695 million in 2008. But that deal was more focused on security products. The current deal is unique because of LiveOffice's focus on e-discovery, which can be used with Symantec's Clearwell Systems subsidiary acquired for $390 million last year.

"Over time it will be a platform for a hosted Clearwell, which will be really interesting," said Symantec's Brian Dye, vice president, information intelligence group, in Mountain View, Calif. However, "Whether we can get it done this year is not clear," he acknowledged.

Many e-discovery service providers already sell the eponymous Clearwell E-Discovery Platform on a hosted basis, but Symantec's integration would be deeper because of proprietary technology that shares data between the applications, Dye said. The software will share metadata about a file's access and history, and will allow users to eliminate irrelevant data, rather than simply acting as a bit mover, he noted.

That plan, for what's known as connector software, is similar to what Symantec previously offered through a partnership with Austin, Texas-based StoredIQ. That partnership ended when the Clearwell deal happened because the companies compete. Meanwhile, Symantec will continue selling its own connector product, Discovery Accelerator, to other e-discovery companies, Dye added.

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