Symantec buys Auckland developer for $US27.5 million

Utility software maker Symantec has acquired Ghost, the industry's most widely used disk cloning product, by spending $US27.5 million to buy all the assets of Binary Research of Auckland, the company that developed Ghost. Between $12 million and $14 million of the purchase price will be expensed as in process research and development, Symantec says.

Utility software maker Symantec has acquired Ghost, the industry's most widely used disk cloning product, by spending $US27.5 million to buy all the assets of Binary Research of Auckland, the company that developed Ghost

Ghost is used to duplicate the content, or "image," in multiple PC hard drives without having to make the changes to each system individually. For example, computer labs in universities use Ghost to "reset" many PCs to a known configuration at the end of each day.

Between $12 million and $14 million of the purchase price will be expensed as in process research and development, Symantec says.

Symantec plans to release a Norton-branded version of Ghost -- under the same name -- in the September quarter. The company will offer localised European versions of the product in September, and plans to release Japanese and complex and simplified Chinese language versions in December, says Enrique Salem, vice president of the security and assistance business unit at Symantec.

Binary Research's facility in Aukland will remain open as a development site, Symantec says.

The acquisition, which is non-dilutive, is part of an ongoing growth strategy Symantec is pursuing. The company last month said it would license antivirus technology from IBM and combine it with its own products under the Norton AntiVirus brand name.

Also last month, IBM and Symantec announced plans to jointly develop immunity programs that protect users against emerging computer threats like hazardous Java and ActiveX applets. The first fruits of that alliance have been worked into an updated version of Norton Antivirus, and can be downloaded by users with version 2.0 or version 4.0. of the product by pressing a "Live Update" button in the software, Salem said.

Symantec, with headquarters in Cupertino, California, can be contacted on the Web at http://www.symantec.com/.

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