Eight years ago Symantec acquired BrightMail and started an anti-spam buying spree which continues to this day. Having started in 2002, ProofPoint was an early stage company when Symantec made its acqui­sition. Now, ten years after it started, ProofPoint is aiming for an IPO at a market valuation in the $400M range. We went way back in our archives to find our Anti-Spam Hall of Fame (below) — ProofPoint brings the total in the range of $3.5B. What’s remarkable about this is that when you ask experts who follow spam closely this question — “How many high volume spammers are there in the world” — the answer usually is: “Less than 100.” That’s right — 100 bad actors create the vast majority of spam and have caused a $3.5B business oppor­tunity. Funny thing — the worst thing that could happen to these companies is that the spam problem actually gets solved…but that’s another story.

Anti-Spam Hall of Fame

Date Acquiree Acquirer Amount Estimated Sales Multiple
3/04 Corvigo Tumbleweed $38.5M ?
6/04 Brightmail Symantec $370M 7x
7/04 TurnTide Symantec $31M ?
7/05 Front­Bridge Microsoft ??? ???
2/06 MailFrontier SonicWall $31M ?
7/06 Black­Spider SurfControl $38M 5x
7/06 CipherTrust Secure Computing $279M 3.7x
1/07 IronPort Cisco $830M 8x
7/07 Postini Google $625M 7-11x?
10/08 MessageLabs Symantec $695M 4.7x
7/09 MX Logic McAfee $140M (+$30M) ???
4/12 ProofPoint IPO $400M
Total $3.47+B