Local security software maker sold

Local security software maker sold

SAVOY — Welcome another Fortune 500 company to Champaign-Urbana.

A General Dynamics subsidiary has acquired the assets of the Savoy-based company that develops and markets PitBull security software.

C4 Systems bought the assets of Innovative Security Systems Inc., which did business as Argus Systems Group.

The sale, announced this week, took effect Aug. 12. The value of the transaction was not disclosed.

C4 Systems — which was Argus' biggest customer — plans to continue operating the office at 1809 Woodfield Drive, Savoy, but is not expected to use the Argus name, said Andrew Jones, who served as Argus CEO until the sale.

Most of the 15 or so employees of the Savoy office continue to work there, Jones said.

However, Jones and Mac MacGregor, the vice president of sales and marketing, have stepped down, and a third employee has retired, Jones said.

The Savoy office is now overseen by Mikel Matthews, a longtime Argus employee who has been chief technology officer.

Argus, founded in 1993, develops software that allows Unix-like servers to be secured against attacks from hackers.

The software is used by banks, financial services companies, utilities and government agencies around the world.

Argus had been owned by Open Prairie Ventures, an Effingham-based venture capital fund management company that invests in early-stage technology firms.

Argus was added to the Open Prairie portfolio in 2003, when the fund purchased the company's assets out of bankruptcy.

As Open Prairie moved to liquidate positions in its original fund, it contacted C4 Systems about a possible transaction, said Dennis Beard, Open Prairie's chief financial officer.

Following the Argus sale, Open Prairie's original fund has investments remaining in three companies: EpiWorks, Infoblox and Cernium.

The $40 million fund, launched 11 years ago, invested in 15 companies over its lifetime.

Open Prairie launched a second fund, totaling $30 million, in 2008. That fund has invested in five companies so far and continues to look at other deals, Beard said.

James Schultz, founder and managing partner of Open Prairie, said he was "thrilled" by the sale to General Dynamics and noted that Argus "had a nice strategic relationship built up" with that company.

General Dynamics ranked 86th on this year's Fortune 500 list, with nearly $32.5 billion in revenues.

Its C4 Systems subsidiary, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., has operations across the United States and employs about 10,000. The Savoy office reports to a C4 Systems office in San Antonio, Texas.

C4 Systems was known as GTE Government Systems before General Dynamics acquired it from GTE in 1999.