VMware, Inc. today announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire mobile management and security solutions provider AirWatch for $1.54 billion.

VMware said it would pay approximately $1.175 billion in cash and $365 million in installed payments and assumed unvested equity for the Atlanta-based startup. The acquisition will be funded in part with about $1 billion of additional debt to be provided by VMware majority owner EMC. The deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close by the end of March.

“With this acquisition VMware will add a foundational element to our end-user computing portfolio that will enable our customers to turbocharge their mobile work force without compromising security,” Patrick P. Gelsinger, VMware’s chief executive, said in a statement.

Founded in 1998, Palo Alto-based VMware spearheaded server virtualization, helping to usher in the era of cloud computing.  VMware said the acquisition would enable organizations to “turbocharge” their mobile work force without compromising security as companies’ in an era when more employees are using their own devices.

“Our vision is to provide a secure virtual workspace that allows end users to work at the speed of life,” said Sanjay Poonen, EVP and GM of VMware’s End-User Computing group. “The combination of AirWatch and VMware will enable us to deliver unprecedented value to our customers and partners across their desktop and mobile environments.”

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