Symantec going private? It's not a crazy thought

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.

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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

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7 comments
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  • IMHO...

    A Private company provides FAR better products and support to it's customers. I also believe they CARE more.

    When a company goes public, they are no longer in business to take care of their customers. They are now in business to take care of their shareholders.

    All one has to do is look at what happened to Google to see how bad that can be for consumers.
    BitTwiddler
    • Totally true

      [i]When a company goes public, they are no longer in business to take care of their customers. They are now in business to take care of their shareholders.[/i]
      John Zern
  • Uh.... typo alert.

    [i][b]Symantec going private? It's not a crazy thought[/b]
    Ryan Naraine: Seagate hit a rough patch during the tech bust and made the bold decision to go private and rid itself of the Wall Street?s demands. Will [/i][b]Seagate[/b][i] go the same route?[/i]
    Hallowed are the Ori
    • Urk

      Thanks. Fixed.

      _r
      Ryan Naraine
  • great let em go public....

    then maybe they will stop being such and absolutely terrible company to work with on EVERY SINGLE LEVEL. I have been doing system administration for nearly a decade (yea I know, you have boots older than that, go shopping jeez), and they are thee worst. They give me the same feeling i get when i have to visit my local DMV office.
    JoeMama_z
    • Er...

      [b]great let em go public.... [/b]

      You mean go PRIVATE - they're already public.
      Wolfie2K3
  • For the kind of junk they're producing these days...

    Given the kind of junk bloated buggy software they've been writing for the past few years, one really needs to puzzle over why they're doing so badly?

    The best decision our company made in 2005 was to eliminate norton from all our 300+ machines.
    kraterz