Network security company CyberGuard has made an unsolicited offer for rival Secure Computing. It has offered a one-for-one stock exchange, representing a 22 percent premium on Secure Computing shares. The deal would be worth around $277.5 million based on CyberGuard's closing share price.

Secure's CFO Tim Steinkopf said that his company had only received an e-mail of the offer and no hard copy, however. "It would be nice if they sent it to us," he said, adding that once they receive the offer they plan to respond "within a handful of days".

He declined to say whether Secure Computing would be amenable to such a bid, but commented that the company's board had a "fiduciary responsibility to shareholders to consider it". The bid comes one week after Secure Computing warned that its second-quarter earnings would be lower than originally expected due to slowed sales to the federal government.

CyberGuard said that the timely buy of Secure Computing would allow it to fill out its product portfolio with high-end firewall and Web filtering technology. Additionally, it predicted that the similarity between the two companies would allow CyberGuard to reduce costs by $14 million,.

In an open letter sent to Secure Computing, CyberGuard Chairman and CEO Patrick Clawson underscored the similarities between the two companies in terms of employees, strengths and cultures, remarking "we are, in fact, building virtually identical companies." Clawson predicted faster revenue growth and wider market share through the marriage of the two.

CyberGuard has gone on a shopping spree over the last 18 months. In January last year, it purchased the assets of VPN acceleration product provider NetOctave; in November 2003, it bought SnapGear, an embedded Linux security and edge firewall provider. And to improve its content security, it purchased Webwasher in April this year.