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Big data-crunching platform Splunk has announced plans to acquire Phantom Cyber Corporation (“Phantom”), a security automation and orchestration platform, in a deal worth $350 million.

San Francisco-based Splunk captures machine-generated data in real time and then generates insights through reports and visualizations, thereby helping companies identify patterns and fix problems. In Splunk’s own words, it “turns machine data into answers” and is typically used by IT, internet of things (IoT), and cybersecurity teams.

Founded out of Palo Alto, California in 2014, Phantom operates in the security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) realm, where it helps companies connect their disparate security applications and processes and automates tasks that would otherwise have been carried out by security personnel. It basically cuts out a lot of the mundane and repetitive tasks involved in monitoring and fixing security threats.

Phantom had raised around $22 million in funding and was named the most innovative startup at the RSA Conference’s Innovation Sandbox Contest in 2016.

Cybersecurity is estimated to become a $165 billion industry by 2023, though recent reports suggest there will be a huge workforce shortfall in the coming years. This is why there is something of a mad scramble to not only invest in cybersecurity professionals, but to also automate many of the processes and reduce the need for humans. Just yesterday, PhishMe revealed it had been acquired for $400 million by a private equity consortium, while last week Vectra raised $36 million for its AI cybersecurity tech.


As a result of this latest acquisition, which is expected to close in the first half of 2018, Splunk said it will integrate Phantom into its security operations center (SOC) platform, which will help its existing clients “accelerate incident response, while addressing the skills shortage,” according to a press release.

“Phantom’s employees and technology significantly expand and strengthen Splunk’s vision for the security nerve center and for business revolution through IT,” said Splunk CEO and president Doug Merritt. “Splunk is committed to continuously pushing the limits of technology to help our customers get the answers they need from their data.”

Splunk went public in 2012 with an IPO share price of $17, and the Nasdaq-traded company’s shares have gone from strength to strength over the past two years, hitting an all-time high of more than $95 last week.

Splunk said it will pay the $350 million Phantom acquisition fee in a combination of cash and stock, though the majority will come in cash from its balance sheet.


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