McAfee announced that it will acquire security solution provider SafeBoot for $350 million in cash. The acquisition brings McAfee new abilities to provide authentication and encryption to endpoints. The company expects the acquisition to close sometime in the fourth quarter of 2007.

SafeBoot products offer encryption for individual files and folders, entire local hard drives, removable media, e-mail attachments, and more. The products also work on mobile devices, including laptops, smart phones, USB drives and PDAs. SafeBoot also offers pre-boot authentication and single sign-on products that help protect a variety of devices.

"SafeBoot’s industry-leading mobile security solutions address a critical pain point for customers – the protection of confidential and proprietary information," said Dave DeWalt chief executive officer and president of McAfee. "We will be able to offer a complete data protection solution that combines SafeBoot’s device, full-disk and content encryption with McAfee’s data loss prevention solutions. This combination helps advance our Security Risk Management strategy and extend our leadership at the end-point."

McAfee intends to form a new Data Protection product business unit to be headed by Gerhard Watzinger who will report to DeWalt. The company will combine its Data Loss Prevention solutions with SafeBoot's technologies to form the foundation for the new business unit. The company also intends to integrate SafeBoot products into its ePolicy Orchestrator centralized management console.

SafeBoot current serves more than 4,200 customers including at least 150 Fortune 500 companies. McAfee said that its products are used on more than 100 million desktops and it expects to expand that number with SafeBoot's existing customer base.