Privatized Blue Coat may help Canadian R&D office

A U.S.-based maker of Web security and wide-area optimization appliances says being privatized will benefit its operations, including its Canadian research and development office.

The offices in Waterloo, Ont., is a “very important part of our business,” says Steve Daheb, senior vice-president for business development and chief marketing officer at Blue Coat Systems Inc.

Blue Coat was taken private on Feb. 15 by private equity investment firm Thoma Bravo, LLC for US$1.3 billion after flat sales.The acquisition will allow the Waterloo branch to continue to add staff, Deheb said.

Blue Coat’s products include the ProxySG secure gateways, the Mach5 WAN optimization appliances and the Packetshaper application performance monitor.

Among the advantages of being a private company is “no longer being shackled by the eyeballs that look at you every 90 days,” said Daheb. “You have the flexibility to invest where you need to, maybe make some bets on some things that maybe don’t have a 90-day matriculation but have some longer term benefit to the company.”

“I can take dollars that might have been allocated to being a public company and reporting every 90 days and put that into roadmaps, channel partners or better serving our customers.”

When it was suggested that most want to go public, Daheb said that Blue Coat isn’t the first company to be privatized. “We’re a very profitable company, we’re growing. Our equity structure just changed from public ownership to private equity.

The shareholders got a premium for their shares, he added.

Thoma Bravo has investments in firewall maker SonicWall, Tripwire Inc. and LANdesk Software

“The security and network acceleration markets have tremendous growth opportunities, and Blue Coat as a private company is now well poised to further strengthen its market leadership,” Thoma Bravo managing partner Orlando Bravo said in a news statement. “We are enthusiastic about working with the Blue Coat team to take the company to the next level.”

“This marks our fifth platform investment in the security technology sector and our fourth in networking,” added Seth Boro, a partner at the firm. “We’re confident our approach and experience in identifying strategic opportunities, coupled with Blue Coat’s innovative solutions and proven leadership in Web security and WAN optimization, establishes a platform for the company’s continued success.”

Blue Coat continues to be dedicated to both the Web gateway and WAN optimizations market, Dahab said, where there is demand for products because of malware and the rise of social networking applications.

Recently the company added a cloud-based gateway service to offer security to corporate branch offices.


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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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