Google to Pay $5.4 Billion for Mandiant


By: Mary Jander

Alphabet Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOGL) subsidiary Google LLC is buying security services provider Mandiant Inc. (Nasdaq: MNDT) in an all-cash deal valued at $5.4 billion. Mandiant will become part of Google Cloud Platform, adding its security services to GCP’s existing defenses as cybersecurity moves front-and-center in cloud technology.

Mandiant has a distinguished track record in managed detection and response (MDR), a cybersecurity technique that combines automation and human expertise in a service that mimics what some have called a remote security operations center. The company, founded in 2004, was acquired by FireEye in 2013 but in 2021 spun off FireEye products in a transaction that left Mandiant with a new name, a new ticker symbol, and a focus only on the Mandiant platform.

Why Buy Mandiant Now?

Google apparently wasn't alone in wanting to buy Mandiant. Bloomberg reported early in February that Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) was in talks to acquire the company. That’s not surprising, given Mandiant’s strategic partnership with Microsoft. Indeed, Mandiant was credited with discovering the infamous SolarWinds hack in 2020.

It's also not surprising given the geopolitical climate, which has led to consolidation in the security space, as large companies look to bolster their defenses amid the growing threat of cyberwarfare. Russia's invasion of Ukraine only underscored concerns about new online threats.

“Cyber security is a mission, and we believe it’s one of the most important of our generation,” said Kevin Mandia, CEO of Mandiant, who once served as an officer in the U.S. Air Force, in a prepared statement.

Google had plenty of firms to choose from. The buying trend follows an explosion of funding that brought billions to security startups last year.

The Google Cloud/Mandiant Combination

Google plans to incorporate Mandiant’s services alongside what it already offers, including its zero-trust network access (ZTNA) service BeyondCorp Enterprise; a threat identification service called VirusTotal; security analytics and automation from Google’s Chronicle platform, along with security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) capabilities obtained when Google bought Siemplify in January 2022. Google also offers another risk management platform called Security Command Center, and the cloud provider has human expertise as well.

Clearly, there may be some refitting and integration when Mandiant comes on board. It seems Google has acquired an arsenal it will have to figure out how to market most effectively. But it’s not likely the strongly branded Mandiant services will be renamed, at least not for a while. Instead, Google seems ready to sell Mandiant services as augmenters to products such as Chronicle and Security Command Center. It’s also possible that certain products and services will ultimately be merged under the Mandiant brand.

CEO Kevin Mandia seems clear on the go-to-market strategy: “Together [with Google], we will deliver our expertise and intelligence at scale via the Mandiant Advantage SaaS platform, as part of the Google Cloud security portfolio,” he said in the statement.

This afternoon, shares of Google parent Alphabet (Nasdaq: GOOGL) were trading at $2,568.06, +50.49 (2.00%). Mandiant shares fell to $22.03, −0.46 (2.05%).