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Cloud Security M&A Revs Up for What Could Be a Bustling 2021 Featured

A flurry of cloud security dealmaking in the early weeks of 2021 might be a sign of what’s to come during the rest of the year.

RedhatOn January 7, Red Hat announced its plan to buy StackRox, a security startup focusing on Kubernetes, an open-source platform originally developed by Google that has become a standard in cloud computing. Financial terms were not disclosed. On the same day, F5 Networks, a Seattle-based application services and application delivery networking company, revealed its $500 million purchase of security services provider Volterra. And earlier this month, Boston cybersecurity firm Rapid7 touted its $50 million acquisition of another Kubernetes security startup, Tel Aviv-headquartered Alcide.

Cloud security companies have received billions in venture-capital funding in recent years, and analysts see them becoming appealing targets for acquisitions, reports TechTarget.

Ubaid Dhiyan, a director at investment bank Union Square Advisors, tells CrunchBase that Kubernetes took over about two years ago and now interest is rising around companies that make the platform more user-friendly. Dhiyan predicts that Kubernetes and related services will continue to garner deal-making and investment attention.

Fernando Montenegro, an analyst at S&P Global, is quoted as saying that “cloud-native security M&A may be a bit less flashy, a bit smaller than cybersecurity deals from years past, but we still see them happening.”

Non-security companies have become more likely buyers for cloud security firms, adds Garrett Bekker, another S&P Global analyst.

Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, tells TechTarget that digital transformation necessitates a shift in security practices away from being “work-load centric, which is why you see network and security stacks coming together.”

Umesh Padval, a venture partner at Thomvest Ventures, tells Crunchbase he’s watching a handful of Kubernetes startups for possible investment. But he cautions, “I’m not sure you will see a $2 billion company founded in the Kubernetes ecosystem.”

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