Jim Reavis at RiskBloggers.com has tossed out this doozy:
This is only a rumor, if it were an actual event you would be instructed by the authorities where to redeem your SYMC stock. Multiple Friends of Risk Bloggers have told me that Symantec has been in talks with investors over their strategic options, with the most likely outcome (if anything happens) being a move to go private! Stepping out of the public markets would likely accelerate the massive industry shakeup we have been seeing, it may soon become pointless to have information security indices if we don’t have stocks to track. (emphasis mine)
The model here is Seagate. The disk-drive maker hit a rough patch during the tech bust and made the bold decision to go private, rid itself of the Wall Street's demands, revamp its manufacturing operations before making second run at the IPO market.
In many ways, Symantec is in the same boat. The Veritas acquisition was supposed to create The New Symantec but
it has been * the pre-transaction communication was "one enormous mistake" (CEO John Thompson's words) and integration challenges (ERP, SKUs, licensing) are still to be resolved. The traditional anti-virus/anti-spyware market is commoditized, if not dead. Hard-nosed competitors are emerging from all corners and revenue streams are shrinking.
Symantec's balance sheet is impressive enough to absorb a retooling of the business, Seagate-style.
It won't be a total surprise to see Symantec spin off Veritas, make a few strategic acquisitions in the Web applications security space (AppSecInc or Finjan) and make another run at the public markets in a year or two.
* This post was updated to clarify the context of John Thompson's comments on the Veritas acquisition.