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June 13, 2007

Aventail purchased by SonicWall

Posted by Tricia Duryee at 2:02 PM

Seattle-based Aventail said today that SonicWall, a company in Sunnyvale, Calif., would purchase the company for $25 million in cash.

Aventail sells a combination of software and hardware that give companies a way for employees to access electronic information stored securely on servers when they're away from the office. The technology is called SSL VPN, or secure socket layer virtual private networks.

Aventail serves very large customers while SonicWall, which competes in the same business, serves much smaller companies, according to Evan Kaplan, chief executive and co-founder of Aventail.

The acquisition follows Aventail's sale of the profitable service side of its business in 2005. That purchase price was undisclosed.

Last year, Aventail recorded $18 million in revenues and was not profitable.

In all, Aventail, which was started during the dot-com heyday, had raised $110 million in venture capital.

"I would like for the Seattle community to understand that it's a fantastic deal for customers, they are well served by it, and they are keeping over 75 percent of our employees, and keeping our engineering talent -- they are doing all the right things as the acquiring company. It's a very good deal for the employees, they have a stock that's doubled over the last three years. They've executed superbly," Kaplan said.

But for investors, he added: "It's an OK deal. We raised a lot of money, and it was gone before 2001 -- it was lost during the bubble period....I feel like we've served the Seattle community well, but I would have liked to be better by investors."

Here's a 2001 story about how Aventail refocused after it raised $55 million in its last round of capital.

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Tricia Duryee
Tricia Duryee
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