VMware to Spend $4.8 Billion on Carbon Black, Pivotal Software

Both deals are expected to close in the second half of this year.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

August 23, 2019

6 Min Read
Money Bag

VMware rocked the channel Thursday with news that it’s buying both Carbon Black and Pivotal Software for a combined value of $4.8 billion. The news comes ahead of its annual VMworld event, kicking off Sunday in San Francisco.

Both deals are expected to close in the second half of this year. A VMware spokesperson tells Channel Partners the acquisitions will further enhance its partner ecosystem and make it more comprehensive.

Carbon Black already is a VMware partner and will bring new partners in the security space, the spokesperson said. Also, Pivotal has partnered with VMware for many years and will bring developer-related partners.

Charlotte Dunlap, GlobalData’s principal analyst, application platforms, tells Channel Partners that VMware is getting serious about the cloud and its DevOps strategy, and these acquisitions are a reflection of that, as well as its Heptio acquisition last year.

“Pivotal and Heptio strengthen VMware’s Kubernetes and broader cloud-native vision through their open, lightweight approach to app development — critical in business transformation projects,” she said. “I expect company execs to use next week’s VMworld conference to demonstrate how its core VM solutions are being reshaped to make them relevant for today’s cloud era. Enterprises have been looking to VMware to significantly reduce the complexity of moving modernized applications into production via public and hybrid cloud services, as well as platform services which support modern app architectures.”

VMware will acquire Carbon Black in an all cash-transaction valued at $2.1 billion. VMware said with Carbon Black it will be positioned to provide a “highly differentiated, intrinsic security cloud that will better protect enterprise workloads and clients through big data, behavioral analytics and AI.”

Keep up with the latest channel-impacting mergers and acquisitions in our M&A roundup.

A next-generation cloud security provider, Carbon Black has with more than 5,600 customers and 500 partners globally.

The combination of Carbon Black’s solutions with VMware’s security services, including AppDefense, Workspace ONE, NSX and SecureState, will create a security cloud platform for any application, running on any cloud, on any device. This combined offering will provide customers advanced threat detection and in-depth application behavior insight to stop sophisticated attacks and accelerate responses, VMware said.


VMware’s Pat Gelsinger

“The security industry is broken and ineffective with too many fragmented solutions and no cohesive platform architecture,” said Pat Gelsinger, VMware’s CEO. “By bringing Carbon Black into the VMware family, we are now taking a huge step forward in security and delivering an enterprise-grade platform to administer and protect workloads, applications and networks. With this acquisition, VMware will also take a significant leadership position in security for the new age of modern applications delivered from any cloud to any device.”

In a blog, Patrick Morley, Carbon Black’s president and CEO, said the VMware team plans to keep existing agreements with Carbon Black partners in place.

“Our product strategy stays the same,” he said. “Our road map stays the same. Our customer support stays the same. The entire product portfolio, cloud and on-premises, is included in the merger — now backed by the extensive global footprint and GTM resources from VMware. In fact, the plan is to invest more aggressively in Carbon Black and leverage our combined strengths to accelerate our growth and execute our vision for our customers. We could not be more excited.”

Eric Parizo, senior analyst with Ovum, said it’s the right deal at the right time for both VMware and Carbon Black, and both companies and their customers will likely benefit.

“For VMware, its long-term objective in buying Carbon Black is likely to create a strong endpoint management and security capability by combining or at least more deeply integrating Carbon Black with its Workspace One unified endpoint management technology, which itself is based on technology brought in through its acquisition of AirWatch,” he said. “VMware and Carbon Black have had a joint go-to-market solution since 2017 with VMware AppDefense and CB Defense, and expanded it last year by joining Trust Network, so some of the integration underpinnings between the two vendors are already in place.”

For Carbon Black, it has been long rumored to be looking for an acquirer, Parizo said.

“The company was in a bit of a pinch in that it had grown too large for most potential acquisition partners, and wasn’t large enough to acquire significant additional technology capabilities to further expand its addressable market,” he said. “Considering how long Carbon Black has looking for an exit, this is a graceful conclusion for investors, and arguably even better for customers, since there’s no question it is in VMware’s interest to continue to invest in the technology.”

In addition, VMware is buying Pivotal, a cloud-native platform provider, in a deal valued at about $2.7 billion. Pivotal assets include a developer-centric platform, tools and services that accelerate modern app development.

“Kubernetes is emerging as the de facto standard for multicloud modern apps,” Gelsinger said. “We are excited to combine Pivotal’s development platform, tools and services with VMware’s infrastructure capabilities to deliver a comprehensive Kubernetes portfolio to build, run and manage modern applications. Importantly, adding Pivotal to our platform accelerates our broader …

… any-cloud, any-app, any-device vision and reinforces our leadership position in modern multicloud IT infrastructure.”

In a blog, Rob Mee, Pivotal’s CEO, said all along VMware has been a key partner.

“We’ve increasingly collaborated to align our product portfolio, particularly around Kubernetes,” he said. “Moreover, VMware is seeking to go beyond their leading infrastructure position and bring a new focus to serving developers and helping organizations modernize. Pivotal plays a natural role in this broader shared mission. We’ll expand the opportunities for both companies by unifying our software story and deepening our relationships with even more customers. Together we will form an organization that combines Pivotal’s expertise modernizing organizations with VMware’s capabilities and experience operating at scale. Together we’ll be able to transform how more of the world builds software.”


Ovum’s Mike Sapien

Mike Sapien, Ovum’s vice president and chief analyst of enterprise services, said Pivotal was rumored as an acquisition target for a long time, so that’s no shocker.

“Carbon Black’s acquisition was a surprise but VMware/WorkspaceOne did just have a briefing prior to VMworld and did promote its new focus on security across its platform and a partnership with Carbon Black,” he said.

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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