Guardium Head Count Could Grow Under IBM Ownership, Big Blue Exec Says

Guardium, the Waltham, MA-based provider of database security software, is the latest Massachusetts company to be gobbled up by technology giant IBM, according to the companies. And Big Blue could grow the company here in the Bay State as it aims to increase its revenue from sales of software.

Armonk, NY-based IBM (NYSE:IBM) announced today that it would acquire Guardium, which provides software that gives businesses a real-time view of activities in their databases and manages which users can access information, among other security and compliance functions. Reuters cited an Israeli newspaper that reported that IBM is shelling out $225 million for Guardium. Yet IBM has not disclosed how much it’s paying for the privately held firm.

IBM says that Guardium is the 28th acquisition the company has made to grow its information management business in recent years. It’s also the 14th purchase of a Massachusetts tech firm during this decade, and it follows Big Blue’s buyout of Waltham-based security software startup Ounce Labs in July. Guardium has been experiencing double-digit growth in year-over-year sales, and it now has some 400 customers including major banks and government agencies, said Ram Metser, the company’s CEO, who is sticking around for his firm’s integration with IBM. He noted that about 100 of the firm’s employees, making up two-thirds of its workforce, are in Waltham.

Arvind Krishna, general manager of IBM Information Management, hinted at growth in the Guardium work force during a conference call today. “The people, not just the leaders, are a critical part of maintaining the viability of the technology [and] the value of how we bring the technology to the clients, and I would expect to see overall growth in the employee base,” Krishna said. He did not, however, offer any specifics on hiring plans.

According to Reuters’ account of the buyout, the deal will be a significant payday for the startup’s investors and other shareholders. Guardium, reportedly purchased for $225 million, raised just $21 million in venture capital from Ascent Venture Partners, Cedar Fund, Cisco Systems, StageOne Ventures, and Veritas Venture Partners.

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2 responses to “Guardium Head Count Could Grow Under IBM Ownership, Big Blue Exec Says”

  1. By acquiring Guardium at such a significant multiple, IBM has validated the database security, risk and compliance marketplace. However, this acquisition adds yet another point solution to their already disparate database tools portfolio, and such an “rfp check box” architecture approach will not satisfy the integrated platform requirements of serious customers seeking enterprise wide data governance.

    -John Ottman, President & CEO, Application Security, Inc.