Citrix Systems announced this week that it acquired ShareFile, a provider of secure, cloud-based data storage, sharing and collaboration. The company provides businesses with the ability to securely store, sync and share documents and files, both inside and outside the enterprise. ShareFile’s centralized cloud storage capability also allows users to share files across multiple devices and access them from any location. The purchase price was not disclosed, but Forbes recently reported that Citrix offered to acquire competing cloud file sharing and storage startup Box.net for nearly $600 million.
The acquisition of ShareFile is highly strategic for Citrix. It will become a part of Citrix’s new Data Sharing Group, which will build upon their “follow-me-data” strategy, giving users the ability to place their information in the cloud but maintain the security and data management capabilities IT departments require. Sharefile will enable Citrix to deliver collaboration, apps and data with increased accessibility and productivity on any device.
This deal is one of the first in what Signal Hill expects to be a series of transactions that will enable large IT vendors to deliver the enterprise equivalent of a DropBox-like solution around cloud collaboration and file sharing capabilities. Dropbox is the cloud storage startup that announced a new $250 million funding round this week. The investment values the company, which boasts 50 million users and $240 million of expected 2011 revenue, at an estimated $4 billion. DropBox is considered by many as a consumer focused offering and lacks many of the security and compliance features typical of enterprise class products. Box.net, which offers a similar service but is more enterprise focused, also announced recently that it closed $81 million in new funding at a $600 million plus valuation, after reportedly turning down Citrix’s offer.
Given the projected growth in cloud-related spending and the fact that this space touches on a multitude of hot trends (such as scale-out storage, collaboration and enterprise mobility), in an otherwise gloomy IT spending environment, we wouldn’t be surprised to continue seeing strategic acquisitions by large companies and even healthier deal values as the year comes to a close.