Symantec Close To Company Breakup – Report

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Symantec reportedly in ‘advanced talks’ about a breakup of the company into two separate organisations

Symantec, the world’s largest security software provider, is reportedly in advanced talks about a possible company breakup.

It comes after the Californian data security and storage provider fired its CEO Steve Bennett in March this year, as the company contended with a declining stock price and falling earnings.

Company Breakup

Symantec is best known for its Norton antivirus and BackupExec software. But it has also sought to become a serious player in the data storage arena, acquiring Veritas Software  for a hefty $10.2bn (£6.3bn) in 2005.

SymantecHowever in recent years critics have accused the company of not keeping up with key trends such as the the shift towards cloud computing and the slump in PC sales, as well as the arrival of more agile competitors such as Axcient, Palo Alto Networks and FireEye.

And now Symantec could be about to take radical action. According to Bloomberg, which quoted people with knowledge of the matter, Symantec is exploring a strategic breakup to make it more nimble and focused.

According to one of the unnamed sources, the Mountain View, California-based company is in advanced talks to split up its business into two entities, with one unit focused on its security programs, and another on data storage, with an announcement possibly made within the next couple of weeks.

Symantec spokeswoman Kristen Batch reportedly declined to comment on the matter.

Earlier this year, Bloomberg News reported that Symantec had hired JPMorgan Chase & Co in April to explore it strategic options and defend against activist shareholders.

Symantec last month appointed its interim chief executive officer Michael Brown, former head of Veritas Software, permanently to the role. Brown reportedly supports a breakup of the company, according to the Bloomberg source.

Growing Trend

The report of a possible breakup at Symantec comes after similar recent moves at other leading tech firms.

Earlier this week Hewlett-Packard said it would split its operations into two separate units, with the PC and printer business overseen by HP Inc and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise looking to focus on selling enterprise hardware and services. It also announced another 5,000 jobs would be lost.

And eBay Inc announced last month that it would separate its PayPal digital-payments unit and marketplace business into two companies by the end of next year.

There is also speculation that if Symantec were to split its business, the security business could become an acquisition target, as companies such as HP and EMC are known to be interested in acquired an established security player.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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