Gil Shwed- Tomer Appelbaum
Gil Shwed Photo by Tomer Appelbaum
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Two months ago, antivirus systems giant McAfee was sold to Intel for $7.7 billion. At the time, a number of analysts suggested that Check Point Software Technologies would also be an attractive target for takeover. Gil Shwed, the company's founder and leader, yesterday shrugged at the idea in conversation with reporters, after the company filed its third-quarter financials.

Anything's possible, Shwed said: but he's been very consistent in his position for the last 17 years, which is that Check Point isn't for sale. "We are very proud of the fact that we are an Israeli company, an independent one," he said.

Also yesterday, the Internet and network security provider Check Point posted results that beat the market's expectations,. It reporting a 25% increase in quarterly net profits.

The firm posted third-quarter net profit of $114.5 million, or 54 cents per diluted share, compared with profit of $91.5 million, or 43 cents a share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose to a record $273.2 million, for an increase of 17% over the same quarter last year.

Excluding one-time items, Check Point earned 63 cents a share, up from 52 cents in the third quarter of 2009.

"This growth was a result of strong network security product sales across all regions with particular strength coming from the Americas and Asia Pacific," chairman and chief executive Gil Shwed said in a statement, adding that he was especially satisfied to be presenting the company's best quarterly results ever.

The company said its deferred revenues amounted to $396.3 million at the end of September, a 10% rise from last year.

At the quarter's end, Check Point had no less than $2.26 billion cash. Asked if the company might use that pile of money to make more acquisitions, Shwed commented that the company's strategy never had been to buy rivals. Its strategy is based on expanding the market, he said. But it does have an eye out for potential acquisitions, and if it sees anything appropriate, it will buy, Shwed added.

Check Point would also consider the issue of paying dividends, said Shwed.

He pointed out that the company had spent more than a billion dollars on buying back stock, and had also spent a billion dollars on acquisitions. The issue of dividends constantly comes up, Shwed said: and the company management, in turn, constantly revisits the option.

Two weeks ago, analyst Robert Breza of Royal Bank of Canada's RBC Capital Markets forecast Check Point's strong quarterly earnings, noting that repeat orders from the United States and Europe were expected to contribute to good quarterly results. RBC Capital Markets, which is a strategic partner of Tamir Fishman in Israel, had pegged Check Point's quarterly revenues at $265 million and projected earnings of 59 cents a share. Check Point itself had forecast revenue of as much as $265 million and earnings per share excluding non-recurring items of 56 to 60 cents.