Israeli security-software vendor Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. saw its stock hit a 52-week low today after a Deutsche Bank market analyst panned the company’s stock, suggesting that Check Point’s competitive position was weakening relative to other major network-security players.
For a while now, Check Point’s stock has languished as its business outlook has deteriorated and its strategic direction has lost focus. A few months ago, Check Point attempted to acquire intrusion-prevention company Sourcefire for approximately $225 million. The proposed acquisition drew the scrutiny of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States(CFIUS), a panel composed of representatives from a dozen government agencies mandated to investigate the national-security implications of foreign investments in U.S. companies. Check Point rescinded its acquisition bid a week before CFIUS was scheduled to release a report that allegedly would have prevented the deal from being consummated.
Without the Sourcefire acquisition, Check Point’s stock has continued to flounder as its growth prospects have dimmed. Rumors are circulating that Check Point will make an announcement regarding an acquisition on or before July 18, when it is scheduled to report its second-quarter financial results. It’s an understandable move, but Check Point must take care to ensure that it picks a clear leader in a fast-growing segment of the security market, and that it also selects a company based outside the USA or one that is involved in a technological area less contentious than the one inhabited by Sourcefire and its Snort open-source intrusion-prevention software.