Symantec going private? It's not a crazy thought

Summary:It won't be a total surprise to see Symantec go private, spin off Veritas, make a few strategic acquisitions in the Web applications security space and make another run at the public markets in a year or two.

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)

It's not the first bit of speculation about Symantec being in play -- Big Yellow has been linked to merger discussions with HP and others-- and the idea of going private isn't such a crazy thought.

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.

Topics: Symantec, Hewlett-Packard, Security

About

Ryan Naraine is a journalist and social media enthusiast specializing in Internet and computer security issues. He is currently security evangelist at Kaspersky Lab, an anti-malware company with operations around the globe. He is taking a leadership role in developing the company's online community initiative around secure content managem... Full Bio

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