VMware to Buy Mobile Management and Security Provider AirWatch for $1.54B

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Virtualization and cloud software provider VMware has signed a definitive agreement to buy AirWatch, a provider of enterprise mobile management and security solutions, which is expected to add secure, mobile workforce capabilities to VMware’s end-user computing portfolio.

The transaction will roughly total $1.54 billion of which approximately $1.175 billion will be cash, plus about $365M in “installment payments and assumed unvested equity”, according to a press statement.

The AirWatch team will continue to report to AirWatch co-founder and CEO John Marshall as part of VMware’s End-User Computing group, led by Sanjay Poonen, EVP and GM. And Alan Dabbiere, AirWatch, co-founder and chairman, will be overseeing a new AirWatch operating board which will report to VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger.

Dabbiere said in a statement, “When we started AirWatch, we set out to help businesses succeed in the mobile explosion that was set to come. Now there are more than 2 billion smart phones and tablets in the world and more than half of those devices touch an enterprise. By joining a proven innovator like VMware, we now have an opportunity to bring our leading-edge solutions to an even broader set of customers and partners to help them optimize for the mobile-cloud world.”

With so much data created outside of the traditional confines of the data center, cloud applications and mobile devices pose some significant risks for organizations hoping to use the latest applications and hardware.

FBR Capital Markets analysts Daniel Ives and James Moore showed optimism about the deal in a research note Wednesday, noting that it will help the combined companies take advantage of “strong secular trends” in the field – meaning trends that aren’t up-and-down. They wrote: “[W]e believe the addition of AirWatch will extend VMware’s lead in the virtualization arena further…given AirWatch’s massively scalable mobile management solution.”

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