Leaving aside any irritation about the timing of the announcement -- why Friday? --   the news that Symantec (news, site) has agreed to buy Clearwell for US$ 390 million has to be the deal of the week on all kinds of levels.

First, for the Clearwell (news, site) backers, who to date have put around US$ 33 million in capital funding, it seems like pretty good payback even just because of the financial consideration.

For Symantec, it represents a strategic move by adding some real e-Discovery heavy metal to its portfolio, as well as giving it a deeper reach into a market that it has been expanding in for quite a while.

Storage, E-Discovery

Combined, the two look like real contenders in … in well in just about anything to do with storage and e-Discovery. It is pertinent to note here that, in this year’s Gartner (news, site) e-Discovery Magic Quadrant, Clearwell made it into the leaders quadrant, while Symantec made into the challengers.

Combined, then, it should give others that are playing in the same field  -- such as Autonomy (news, site), which also made into the leaders quadrant, and IBM or EMC, both of which made it into the challengers quadrant -- think about future strategies in the face of what is turning into a storage and e-Discovery gorilla.

Interestingly this deal comes the same week that Iron Mountain finally threw in the towel and sold its digital assets to Autonomy, thus leaving the e-Discovery market, while Symantec moves in big-time.

Leaving aside any considerations here about the e-Discovery/storage consolidation for the moment, this follows a buying strategy on behalf of Symantec, which in the last year alone spent $2 billion on acquisitions -- including the $1.28 billion takeover of VeriSign (news, site) -- and has seen it muscle-up in all kinds of places.

In terms of this acquisition, Reuter’s news service is citing Symantec CEO Enrique Salem as describing the acquisition as a “tuck in” acquisition, and saying that the company is looking to acquire even more technology in the future.

On the European side of the English-speaking world, “tuck in” describes what you might do at a loaded dining table, so, following through on that, is Symantec just waiting in the wings to gobble up a lot more companies? The answer would seem to be yes.

Symantec’s Buying Strategy

However, let’s be careful here, as this is not just random buying. Clearwell, which has probably been on the target market for a while, fits with Symantec’s established portfolio.

From Clearwell, Symantec gets one of the most comprehensive information management solutions available at the moment through its e-Discovery platform, while Symantec provides Enterprise Vault, also an e-Discovery solution, but less well known across the market.

The acquisition of Clearwell’s market-leading electronic discovery solution will further increase Symantec’s ability to get the right information, to the right people, at the right time, while reducing overall legal review costs and limiting risk,” says Deepak Mohan, senior vice president, Information Management Group, Symantec.

Symantec, Clearwell

And of course there was already an existing integration of Enterprise Vault with the Clearwell e-Discovery Platform, suggesting that the combined product solutions should be hitting the shelves soon rather than later.

In addition, it is also expected to provide future cross-sell and product integration action across Symantec backup and security, by using Symantec NetBackup, Data Loss Prevention and Data Insight.

Symantec expects the acquisition to hit its earnings in the fiscal year ending next March and to add to profits starting in fiscal year 2013. The deal is expected to close in the September quarter.