Potential Imperva Buyers: Cisco, IBM?

Anthony Bettencourt
Anthony Bettencourt

Imperva Inc. hired Qatalyst Partners roughly two months ago to find potential bidders for the underperforming security company. Now, potential bidders might be moving toward the negotiating table.

Indeed, Akamai, Cisco Systems Inc., Forcepoint and IBM Corp. have expressed interest in Imperva, according to Bloomberg. Bids are due in about two weeks, the media giant reported.

Imperva delivered weaker-than-expected quarterly results in August; both revenue and profits fell short of Wall Street expectations. Total revenue for the second quarter of 2016 was $57.9 million -- up from $53.5 million in the second quarter of 2015. But the company's net loss grew larger -- reaching $(24.7) million in Q2 2016 vs. a net loss of $(17.3) million in Q2 2015.

At the time, CEO Anthony Bettencourt confirmed rumors that Imperva retained Qatalyst Partners to pursue strategic alternatives -- Wall Street jargon for "find us a buyer."

Security and the IT Channel

Imperva's flagship products -- SecureSphere, CounterBreach, Incapsula and Skyfence -- enable organizations to discover assets and risks, and then mitigate those risks in the cloud and on-premises.

Imperva has a partner program, but the recent financial results suggest channel sales likely aren't going all that well. During the August earnings call, Imperva's executive team never once mentioned VARs, MSPs, CSPs or other types of partners.

Still, there could be signs of progress on the channel front. Imperva launched an "entirely revamped Imperva PartnerSphere Channel Program" in mid-August to help more than 250 global channel partners work more closely with the company.

Wendy Bahr

Of Imperva's rumored suitors, Cisco Systems appears to be the most channel-friendly company. Cisco Channel Chief Wendy Bahr has spent most of this year evangelizing security as the company's top channel priority. She's expected to reinforce that point in November, during Cisco's next partner summit.

But will Cisco -- or anybody else -- actually bid for Imperva? The company's market cap was about $1.42 billion as of mid-day today...

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.