Big data, machine learning drive Splunk’s cybersecurity play

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Demand for new and improved cybersecurity offerings, in some cases spurred by well-publicized data breaches and ransomware attacks, has created a healthy appetite for M&A with cybersecurity-related companies. For instance, Palo Alto Networks (NYSE: PANW) agreed to acquire venture capital-backed, a cybersecurity monitoring company, for $300 million and Duff & Phelps is buying cybersecurity and risk management firm Kroll from Corporate Risk Holdings.

In another recent notable deal, Splunk Inc. (Nasdaq: SPLK) wants to use its cybersecurity product offerings to help companies automate their threat responses. The data analytics provider has agreed to buy venture capital-backed Phantom Cyber Corp. for $350 million in cash and stock.

Phantom, launched in Palo Alto, California in 2014, assists businesses to automate their security threat response tasks that are usually carried out by security personnel. The target previously received venture funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Foundation Capital, and In-Q-Tel.

“Splunk is committed to continuously pushing the limits of technology to help our customers get the answers they need from their data,” says Splunk CEO Doug Merritt. Splunk, based in San Francisco, captures machine generated data in real time and turns them into reports mainly to help cybersecurity teams identify patterns.

According to research firm Gartner: “By 2022, 40 percent of all large enterprises will combine big data and machine learning functionality to support and partially replace monitoring, service desk and automation processes and tasks, up from 5 percent today.”

In other cybsercurity related deals: KPMG reached a deal to acquire the identity and access management business from Cyberinc; LLR Partners’ bought cybersecurity software provider BluVector from Northrop Grumman Corp. (NYSE: NOC); and Coalfire purchased Veris Group.

Demitri Diakantonis

Demitri Diakantonis

Demitri Diakantonis joined SourceMedia in 2015 and serves as Assistant Managing Editor of Mergers & Acquisitions and writes The Buyside column about corporate dealmaking, and also covers the consumer sector.