Symantec Reportedly in Talks to Acquire Veritas


Security software maker Symantec is reportedly in talks
to buy back-up software power Veritas Software
in a blockbuster deal that, at $13 billion, would be one
of the largest of its kind.


According to the New York Times, which cited executives close to the
negotiations, the companies are in advanced talks for a deal that could be
consummated this week.

Symantec, which has gone on shopping sprees every year for the last few
years, makes the successful line of Norton computer security products.
Veritas is the market leader in software that saves and restores corporate
data, according to research firms like IDC and Gartner.

A combination of the two large companies could create a formidable opponent in
the market for not only protecting corporate data from malicious intruders
and virus attacks, but quickly bringing that data back online. It would also
be one of the largest software acquisitions ever, following on the heels of
Oracle’s agreement
to acquire PeopleSoft for $10.3 billion.

According to Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Pete Gerr, the acquisition would give Symantec an immediate and very powerful presence in storage and network management, which are two of the areas the company has identified as strategic.

“[It] could also improve its presence in systems and
applications management via Veritas’ earlier acquisitions of Jareva and Precise.”


Veritas shares were up 12 percent to $28.23 this morning; Shares of Symantec
were down 13 percent from Monday night’s closing, to $28.66.


Neither Symantec nor Veritas returned calls as of this writing. But the
Times reported that talks have been ongoing for more than a month and that the
pieces of the puzzle are almost complete. Several issues remain unresolved;
the exact terms of the deal could not be determined.


Determined to be the leader in a market that includes rivals McAfee, Network
Associates and Trend Micro, Symantec has spent the last few years acquiring
companies, large and small.


In September, the Cupertino, Calif., concern acquired
security software makers @stake and LIRIC Associates. But it has also turned
its attention to acquiring spam-stopping companies, such as Brightmail
and TurnTide.


Symantec’s aggressive, acquisitive nature is also likely a move to fend off
Microsoft, which has increasingly turned its
attention to fighting spam and viruses after suffering spates of attacks on
its own software.


While Symantec’s desire to grow may stem from necessity in the face of
competition, Veritas is a company in the midst of change. The Mountain View,
Calif., outfit holds
40.4 percent revenue share in backup and archiving storage software.


But the company has spent the past two years trying to convince
the high-tech world that it is a provider of utility computing services. The
idea is to compete with IBM
, HP and others in the emerging space for
automating data flow on the network.

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