Back in the go-go 1980s, there was a lot of excitement with crusty old companies -- that is, hostile takeovers. Wall Street saw mature industries with lots of cash flow that could mean a quick buck.
The same can be said with another industry: enterprise software. Already, there is Oracle's
And, on Sunday, a network security company, CyberGuard
With viruses spreading like -- well, like viruses -- there is significant growth in computer security. As for Secure Computing, it builds solutions that keep "the bad guys out and (let) the good guys in."
Like all good hostile bids, CyberGuard was quite opportunistic. The bid came after the bloodbath last week in the software sector. Major software companies such as PeopleSoft, Veritas
CyberGuard says it has a "great deal of respect" for Secure Computing's team and technology. Then again, CyberGuard also says it can wring out $14 million in cost savings (so maybe the whole team is not important?).
Over the past year, CyberGuard has been acquisitive -- with the purchases of NetOctave, SnapGear, and Webwasher -- but the Secure Computing transaction will be in a different league. Hostile takeovers are notoriously expensive and time-consuming. And, with the recent plunge in Secure Computing's stock price, the current offer on the table will probably need to be sweetened much more.
Fool contributor Tom Taulli is the author of The EDGAR Online Guide to Decoding Financial Statements. He does not own shares in any of the stocks mentioned.