US DOJ probes Google’s $5.4b Mandiant acquisition

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Federal regulators are taking a closer look at Google’s planned $5.4 billion acquisition of Mandiant, a deal designed to boost the web giant’s public cloud’s cybersecurity capabilities.

In a filing [PDF] with the SEC this week, Mandiant officials said that both their company and Google received a request from the Department of Justice for more information, though no details about what data is being sought was disclosed.

Both companies expect to respond to this request promptly and continue to work with the DOJ’s review of the proposed deal, which was announced in early March, they stated in the SEC filing. The merger is still expected to go ahead this year.

In announcing its bid March 8, Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian said in a statement that “organizations around the world are facing unprecedented cybersecurity challenges as the sophistication and severity of attacks that were previously used to target major governments are now being used to target companies in every industry.”

The proposed acquisition comes at a time when larger mergers, including in the IT space, are getting more scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators in Washington DC. A deeper look by the DOJ is more about Google and the size of the bid than with any impact on a crowded cybersecurity field, according to Bob O’Donnell, principal analyst with Technalysis Research.

“Any time you see a deal of some reasonable size, you’re going to get a lot more checking regardless of the area that it’s in,” O’Donnell told The

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