- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 18, 2002

Symantec Corp., the California company that makes Norton anti-virus software, bought local computer security firm Riptech Inc. yesterday for $145 million.

It was the largest of three acquisitions Symantec made yesterday in an attempt to bolster its computer security business. The company, which announced the acquisitions after the market closed, spent $355 million to buy the companies. Each transaction was an all-cash deal.

Symantec Chief Executive Officer John Thompson raved about Riptech during a conference call to discuss the company's first-quarter earnings.

"They have developed an incredible reputation in the market for thought, leadership and innovation," he said.

Amit and Elad Yoran founded Riptech in Alexandria in 1998 to market computer security services for corporate networks. Riptech has about 500 customers in 40 countries. It markets computer security services primarily to companies in the energy, health care and financial services industries.

Riptech also has started publishing Internet security-threat reports to boost its profile.

The company has grown to 140 employees, but it started with just a handful of workers who toiled for a year in the basement of Amit Yoran's home in Alexandria.

By the time they moved into their first office space in March 1999, Riptech had grown to 10 employees.

Its rapid growth over the past two years was an indication of greater demand for security services among companies that were increasingly fearful of intrusions from hackers.

"I know it's only been four years, but sometimes it feels like we've been at this for 40 years," Elad Yoran said.

He and his brother, Amit, will stay with Symantec after the acquisition is complete.

The Alexandria venture capital firm Columbia Capital was a big beneficiary of Symantec's purchase. Columbia Capital invested $13.9 million in Riptech in two separate rounds of investment.

It was also the biggest shareholder in Riptech.

"There is great satisfaction in delivering a return to our investors. We are thrilled we can show them a handsome return," Elad Yoran said.

Symantec said it must get regulatory approval for its proposed purchases, Mr. Thompson said.

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