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Mail security and software utilties company GFI Software has bought independent US antivirus company Sunbelt Software for an undisclosed sum.

GFI already offers a range of security products that use third-party antivirus engines from companies such as Kaspersky and BitDefender to make up the scanning element of its  mostly SME-oriented products such as the GFI MailDefense suite. The Sunbelt Software buy gives the company access to an antivirus engine of its own for the first time.

GFI will now integrate Sunbelt's heavily revised 'Vipre' detection technology across the range of its own products. The software has a good reputation for innovation and was rewritten from the ground up just over a year ago.

“We were impressed by the high quality and innovative technology that underlies Sunbelt’s Vipre line of products and immediately saw strong synergies between the two companies,” said GFI CEO, Walter Scott.  

GFI will also get its hands on a malware detection engine that is already licensed to third-parties, generating standalone revenue of its own. Increasingly, merely selling antivirus and anti-malware is only one part of a business that depends on third-party licensing to stay afloat.

Sunbelt also has a distribution business, which is not part of the sale and will remain a separate entity, GFI said.

Smaller, independent antivirus companies selling out has been a steady trend, and is set to continue. The cash needed to keep development and marketing on track is getting harder to sustain at a time when free antivirus from Microsoft and others is taking away sales.