That Mandiant sale thing
Working in security is guaranteed to do one thing – it makes you cynical and distrustful. Snowden has quantified and multiplied that distrust – so it is perfectly possible that my cynicism has more to do with personal paranoia. But…
Is Mandiant really worth $1 billion? That’s what FireEye paid for it. Not in cash, but in shares – and it would have been more had FireEye’s shares not fallen just prior to the announcement. Shares, incidentally, that FireEye only has because it went public less than four months ago. It couldn’t buy Mandiant with cash because FireEye has never yet turned a profit.
Mandiant is privately held, and the big winners in the acquisition will be Mr. Mandia, the company’s founder, Mr. DeWalt, who joined Mandiant’s board as chairman in 2012, and the company’s venture backers. Mandiant has raised $70 million from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the venture capital firm, and One Equity Partners, an investment arm of JPMorgan Chase.
FireEye Computer Security Firm Acquires Mandiant: New York Times
But hang on a bit. Isn’t Mr DeWalt chairman of FireEye? Yes he is. On 23 June 2012 he said (here), “Greetings everyone – Dave DeWalt here, the new chairman of FireEye. I have to tell you I’m very excited to join this hot security company…”
But just over a month earlier he blogged about his happiness in becoming Mandiant’s chairman:
Now, for Dave DeWalt to be a ‘big winner’ in the sale of Mandiant, he has to have a percentage of that company – which would not be surprising for the chairman of that company. So what we have is a timeline of Mr DeWalt becoming chairman of Mandiant (and some time thereabouts receiving a percentage of or investing some money in ownership of Mandiant); that same Mr DeWalt becoming chairman of FireEye approximately six weeks later; and then the second Mr DeWalt buying the first Mr DeWalt’s part of Mandiant for a very large sum of money just 18 months later.
I have, of course, asked FireEye if Mr DeWalt was still a member of the board of Mandiant at the time of the purchase, and how much he made from the sale – but have not at the time of writing this received a reply.