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Sunbelt Chief Speaks

Sunbelt was quite the popular company based on the notes I've gotten from readers concerning its acquisition by GFI Software. Sunbelt has heard from customers who will miss it, and CEO Alex Eckelberry sent me this note for all you concerned about the deal. Here goes:

"We needed to do this. Three big reasons: a) access to capital and resources, b) technology and c) new markets.

Running Sunbelt was like holding a tiger by the tail -- the growth was phenomenal, but the stress on the business was sometimes very intense. I needed to find a partner with deep pockets -- and GFI has deep pockets. I could have gone with a venture capitalist, but there is a whole lot of other risk that comes with that...

On the technology side, you don't sit still in this business and last long. GFI brings a lot of key technologies that we needed in order to continue being a world-class company -- their MSP platforms, DLP technology, patch and vulnerability assessment and e-mail SaaS security.

Their access to new markets is also a major part of the transaction. Ninety-five percent of our sales were in North America. That's not sustainable, as we needed to move into international markets to sustain and grow the business. Over 50 percent of GFI's sales are international, and that's a big pickup for us.

Finally, the issue of culture: GFI's culture is very similar to ours. While they have certainly had their issues in the past, the current CEO, Walter Scott, has the same attitudes that I have about customer support, product quality and taking care of the customer. I have been very impressed with how they run this business (and it's certainly a world different than what it was two years ago, before Scott and the new management team came in).

For our employees, it's a good thing. Out of 240 employees, there were only a handful of redundant positions (less than 10). The vast majority of employees are here and continuing with the new organization. The Tampa Bay location is going to be growing into an even larger operation.

We had a number of suitors but chose GFI because we felt they would respect the technology, our support and our culture. And all of the key Sunbelt executives are still here, myself included. I am now running the security business for GFI. I expect things will get better, not worse."
-- Alex

Posted by Doug Barney on July 30, 2010 at 11:53 AM


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