Security vendor SonicWall said Feb. 8 it has acquired e-mail security firm, MailFrontier, in a $31 million deal that fattens SonicWall’s growing solution portfolio.

The purchase adds MailFrontier’s e-mail management and security hardware and software to SonicWall’s portfolio of security solutions for SMBs (small and midsized businesses).

“It brings us more of an end-to-end, integrated solution,” said John DiLullo, vice president of worldwide sales.

MailFrontier, of Palo Alto, Calif., sells e-mail security gateway software and hardware that checks inbound and outbound e-mail traffic for viruses, phishing attacks, spam content and other threats.

Click here to read about MailFrontier’s move to a channel-only model.

Combined with SonicWall’s existing portfolio of Firewall and SSL-VPN appliances, backup and recovery, and gateway anti-virus and anti-spam products, the e-mail product bolster’s the company’s profile as an enterprise secure content management vendor, Dilullo and a company spokesperson said Feb. 8.

SonicWall has yet to make plans for integrating the product lines, but MailFrontier will be immediately available to SonicWall’s 10,000 plus resellers, DiLullo said.

MailFrontier reported $7 million in revenue for 2005, 80 percent of which went through the channel, according to SonicWall sources. MailFrontier serves about 1,700 customers and 100 VARs.

The deal will be finalized in 10 days, pending regulatory approval, SonicWall said.

Executives and channel partners said the synergy between the two product lines and the e-mail company’s channel nature were leading factors in the decision to acquire MailFrontier.

SonicWall operates a 100 percent channel route to market, while MailFrontier did about 80 percent of its business through resellers, 30 of which also sold SonicWall, Dilullo said.

“As we’re looking to make strategic acquisitions, one of the first filters we apply is how receptive is the channel,” Dilullo said.

“[MailFrontier] is a product, where it not only adds value to the channel, the channel will add value to the product,” he said.

“There is an opportunity here to drive synergy, from services and the full suite of SonicWall products to deliver powerful solutions.”

SonicWall is meeting this week with MailFrontier’s VARs to determine if and where they fit among SonicWall’s 10,000 plus partners.