BlackBerry

BlackBerry reportedly to Acquire WatchDox

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According to reports coming out of Israel, BlackBerry is acquiring WatchDox, a startup that has developed cross-platform technology for digital rights management and for enterprises to share files securely.

Reportedly, BlackBerry will be paying between $100 million and $150 million for the company, and will also leverage its 100-person team in Israel to build out its R&D operations in the country.

The news, initially reported by Israel’s GeekTime, says the deal was signed this week for $150 million. Another local publication, Globes, followed up noting that the deal could be confirmed as soon as today and see BlackBerry pay $100 million for WatchDox.

There is no guarantee a deal will get inked and talks could break down at the final hour, one of the people familiar with the matter cautioned.

WatchDox was founded in 2008 originally as Confidela. Confidela first released WatchDox in 2009 before ultimately, it seems, rebranding the whole business under the product name. The company, which is headquartered in Palo Alto, has raised nearly $36 million, with investors including the Blackstone Group, Gemini Israel Ventures, Millennium Technology Value Partners, Shasta Ventures, and Shlomo Kramer. Kramer, the chairman of the company, had in the past cofounded Trusteer, another security firm acquired by IBM in 2013.

WatchDox’s growth has partly sprung out of rising awareness of security risks among enterprises and individuals. As more mobile devices are used for work and sharing documents, there has been an exponential growth of cloud-based services to store files, but that has also opened the door to data breaches.

In practice, what WatchDox allows is a platform to securely share documents among employees and other authorized individuals. When those files have to leave the corporate circle of trust — for example to be sent to someone outside the organization — the security goes with them, so that, for example, a video clip or sensitive contract or memo cannot be downloaded and posted elsewhere. Currently, WatchDox’s DRM product does not seem to be targeted at mass distribution of files, but more to protect sensitive scripts, videos and other digital media so that it doesn’t get leaked and used elsewhere.

We have reached out to WatchDox and BlackBerry for a comment.

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