By ANDREW ROSS SORKIN and JOHN MARKOFF
June 29, 2006
RSA Security, a pioneering digital security company, quietly put
itself up for sale several months ago and is now near a deal with EMC
or at least one other bidder, people involved in the auction process
said last night.
A deal, possibly worth more than $1.8 billion, could be reached in a
few days, these people said. The company has a market value of $1.46
RSA's board is expected to meet before the weekend to review final
bids, these people said. They cautioned, however, that it remained
possible that RSA could still decide against a sale.
It could not be learned last night who was competing against EMC, the
data storage giant.
RSA, based in Bedford, Mass., makes physical security cards under the
SecurID brand that are widely used in authentication systems at
corporations around the world. The company is also active in
developing antifraud technologies and a variety of encryption systems.
RSA takes its name from the initials of its three founders: Ronald
Rivest, Adi Shamir and Leonard Adelman. The three, who are academic
researchers, are leading figures in the field of cryptography who
developed an important algorithm in a technology known as public key
The company became a commercial success largely through the efforts of
an early chief executive, Jim Bidzos, who became an outspoken advocate
of commercial cryptography in the face of government opposition. He
struck an early deal to use RSA technology in the Netscape browser.
Today, the company has $322 million in annual revenue and $40.5
million in net income.
RSA is widely known for sponsoring the RSA Security conference, a
trade show and conference that has become the focus of the computer
Shares of the RSA closed yesterday at $19.36, up 15 cents.
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