Google beats Microsoft to buy security specialists Mandiant

Despite serious interest from Microsoft, threat detection pro Mandiant has been acquired by Google.
9 March 2022

Google has beaten Microsoft to sign a definitive agreement to acquire Mandiant, a leader in dynamic cyberdefense and response, in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately US$5.4 billion.

Upon the close of the acquisition, Mandiant will join Google Cloud. However, this is where things can get a little tricky. Why exactly did Mandiant end up being acquired by Google and not Microsoft?

According to a report by Bloomberg a month earlier, Microsoft was in talks to acquire the cybersecurity research and incident response company. The deal was expected to bolster Microsoft’s efforts to protect customers from hacks and breaches.

A bit of history on Mandiant, the company was acquired by FireEye in 2013. Mandiant became a standalone company again when FireEye was acquired by Symphony Technology Group. Symphony then combined FireEye with McAfee Enterprise to form Trellix,

As Mandiant’s primary focus is on incident response and cyberintelligence cases, it was no surprise that tech giant Microsoft was interested in acquiring them. The potential deal would have given Microsoft even deeper insight into consequential hacks.

But now, it seems Google has emerged as the buyout winner. The acquisition of Mandiant will instead complement Google Cloud’s existing strengths in security.

Acquisitions are a sign of power and dominance

Acquisitions among big tech companies are common over the last couple of years. In fact, most big tech companies often acquire smaller tech startups to boost their own position in the market.

As most acquisitions among big tech companies often revolve around improving their product offerings, many of them are often criticized for monopolizing the space and eliminating competition.

The reality is though, the competition and monopolization by the big tech firms continue to impact how smaller players operate. Last year, one of the biggest tech acquisitions was supposed to be NVIDIA’s US$40 billion acquisition of ARM. However, the deal was terminated following significant regulatory challenges preventing the consummation of the transaction.

Last year also saw Oracle acquiring electronic medical records and healthcare IT services company Cerner for US$28.3 billion as well as Salesforce wrapping up its US27.7 billion acquisition of Slack. In October 2021, private equity firm Symphony Technology Group completed its US$1.2 billion acquisition of security company FireEye, combining it with McAfee Enterprise from Trellix.

This year, Microsoft acquired Activision Blizzard for US$68.7 billion in the biggest tech acquisition ever made. The deal however is also facing scrutiny by federal prosecutors and securities, eager to ascertain if another ‘big tech’ player is overstepping fair competition grounds.

Google vs Microsoft for Mandiant

Now, the deal is not completed yet as it will be subjected to regulatory approvals and such. And it won’t be surprising if Microsoft kicks up a fuss about the acquisition as well.

As Wedbush analyst Dan Ives puts it, the acquisition will have a major ripple impact across the tech space.

There is no denying that modern threats already require businesses to detect and respond to adversaries quickly; analyze and automate threat intelligence to scale threat detection across organizations; orchestrate and automate remediation; validate their protection against known threats, and visualize their IT environment in order to identify and to simulate solutions against new threats.

Hence, the cloud represents the best way to change the security paradigm by helping organizations address and protect themselves against entire classes of cyberthreats — while simultaneously accelerating digital transformations at a rapid pace.

With the addition of Mandiant, Google Cloud will enhance its offerings to deliver an end-to-end security operations suite with even greater capabilities to support customers across their cloud and on-premise environments.

As a recognized leader in strategic security advisory and incident response services, Mandiant brings real-time and in-depth threat intelligence gained on the frontlines of cybersecurity with the largest organizations in the world. Combined with Google Cloud’s cloud-native security offerings, the acquisition will help its enterprise customers globally to stay protected at every stage of the security lifecycle.

“Organizations around the world are facing unprecedented cybersecurity challenges as the sophistication and severity of attacks that were previously used to target major governments are now being used to target companies in every industry,” pointed out Thomas Kurian, the CEO of Google Cloud.

“There has never been a more critical time in cybersecurity. Since our founding in 2004, Mandiant’s mission has been to combat cyberattacks and protect our customers from the latest threats,” said Kevin Mandia, Mandiant’s chief executive. “To that end, we are thrilled to be joining forces with Google Cloud. Together, we will deliver expertise and intelligence at scale, changing the security industry.”

The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals and recipients by Mandiant stockholders. It is expected to close later this year.