Content, Business continuity, Networking

Carbonite Acquires Webroot for SMB, MSP Cybersecurity

Carbonite has acquired Webroot for $618.5 million, the two companies confirmed Thursday. The deal marries Carbonite's cloud- and appliance-driven backup and disaster recovery (BDR) business with Webroot's MSP- and SMB-centric cybersecurity business.

Webroot CEO Mike Potts
Webroot CEO Mike Potts
Mohamad Ali

Related: Carbonite and Webroot target eight backup, security rivals.

The Webroot buyout is the latest in a growing list of M&A deals involving MSP-centric software providers. The deal also further blends the world of MSP-centric security and storage.

Barracuda Networks, in particular, has been an early mover in that market -- and most recently extended into the RMM (remote monitoring and management) software sector while also partnering with Avast for endpoint security.

Recent Business Evolutions

Both Carbonite and Webroot have evolved in recent years. For instance:

  • Carbonite's Evolution: In recent years, Carbonite has aggressively extended from its consumer backup roots into the SMB and midmarket sectors. Carbonite CEO Mohamad Ali has used a blend of M&A and organic R&D to drive that growth. Key acquisitions have included Dell's EMC MozyData CastleEVault and Double Take Software.
  • Webroot's Evolution: Webroot, meanwhile, has a deep base of MSP and SMB relationships. The company has extended from endpoint security toward network security and cybersecurity training -- particularly anti-phishing education. Current Webroot CEO Mike Potts succeeded Dick Williams in September 2017, and the software company has maintained its aggressive focus on MSPs since that time.

Carbonite Acquires Webroot: MSP & SMB Partner Implications

The Carbonite-Webroot combination has upside on paper, but Carbonite's direct sales team (mostly in the midmarket) will need to avoid alienating Webroot's SMB- and MSP-centric business model.

Webroot’s Charlie Tomeo

Webroot is taking proactive steps to address potential partner concerns. In a prepared statement, Charlie Tomeo, vice president of worldwide business sales at Webroot, said:

"I’m personally thrilled for the opportunity ahead for both our MSP community and our RMM/platform partners. While we are in the early stages of transition planning, I can share that our commitment to creating MSP-friendly solutions that are both easy-to-use and efficient will not change. The combined company will be able to offer a robust platform to help solve the cybersecurity issues facing businesses. I’m excited to arm this channel with a set of tools to face the escalating threat landscape of today, and tomorrow."

Carbonite: Opening Its Arms to MSPs, RMM Providers

Meanwhile, Carbonite in recent months has held MSP-centric partner meetings in Boston, and the company also announced plans for a partner road show before news of this M&A deal materialized.

Among the areas Carbonite hopes to leverage: Webroot has strong relationships with RMM (remote monitoring and management) software companies across the MSP sector. Carbonite expects to leverage those RMM relationships as new routes to market. But here again, the company will need to move in an incredibly partner-friendly way.

The reason: Four of the leading RMM providers (Continuum, Datto, Kaseya and SolarWinds MSP) already have their own in-house BDR solutions. ConnectWise is the only major RMM provider without its own BDR intellectual property, and the company already partners with roughly six to eight cloud backup software providers.

Carbonite and Webroot: CEO Statements

Describing the deal, Carbonite CEO Mohamad Ali said:

“The acquisition of Webroot dramatically accelerates our progress towards becoming the leading data protection company. With threats like ransomware evolving daily, our customers and partners are increasingly seeking a more comprehensive solution that is both powerful and easy to use. Backup and recovery, combined with endpoint security and threat intelligence, is a differentiated solution that provides one, comprehensive data protection platform."

Added Webroot CEO Mike Potts:

“Carbonite and Webroot have a common focus on making data protection and cybersecurity solutions accessible and easy to use, as well as a dedication to customer success, and we are thrilled to become part of their team. Together we can deliver tremendous value to our customers and partners.”

Carbonite Financial Results

Carbonite was in growth mode ahead of the deal, though Wall Street might be pushing for even faster growth.

The company's revenue was $77 million in Q4 2018, up 25 percent from $61.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to results announced today. Net income for the fourth quarter was $0.7 million, compared to net loss of $1.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2017.

The earnings generally beat Wall Street's expectations, but revenues were roughly $2.94 million short of analyst expectations, according to SeekingAlpha.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.