Symantec: 'No end in sight for acquisitions'

No plans to get into identity management but more mega-deals on the horizon

No plans to get into identity management but more mega-deals on the horizon

Serial acquirer Symantec is intent on making more strategic acquisitions this year and says it will follow its Veritas acquisition with a large deal approximately every 18 months.

The US security giant has pursued an aggressive acquisition strategy, bossing the rapid consolidation in the market. Enrique Salem, former CEO of Symantec acquisition Brightmail, now senior VP of security products at the company, told to expect no let-up.

"We expect to keep making six to eight acquisitions per year with perhaps a larger deal, such as Veritas, every 18 months," said Salem who is enjoying his second spell with the company.

Salem said Symantec CEO John Thompson (a Agenda Setter) actively fosters a culture within the company whereby senior execs are always on the lookout for the next buyout target.

"The best thing about being back at Symantec is that while we're always continuing to build solutions, we are also able to go out and identify the best technology in the market place and go and buy it."

"John [Thompson] is the kind of guy I can go to and say 'here's who I think we should be buying, and here's the case for doing so' and he'll just say 'OK, go out and do it'," said Salem.

In the past year the company has already completed four acquisitions, suggesting others may be on the cards sooner rather than later but Salem wouldn't be drawn on which areas of Symantec's portfolio it may be looking to flesh out.

He ruled out a move into the fast-growing identity and access management market (IAM), which is currently enjoying a boom time, though he agreed it does appear to represent a gaping hole in the company's broad security portfolio.

"It's intentional," he said. "At the moment we're taking an agnostic approach and will continue to work with everybody in that space instead of us bringing out our own IAM offering."

"It's a piece of the puzzle I'm happy for us not to have," he added.

In the past 18 months Symantec has bought Bindview, Brightmail, LIRIC, Sygate, Turntide, WholeSecurity and completed the $13.5bn acquisition of storage giant Veritas.

Salem told he has been surprised by how smoothly the Veritas deal has gone. "It's almost eery," he said.

And while he accepted there is a great deal of scepticism in the industry surrounding the marriage of storage and security, it makes a strong "compliance play" which will be at the centre of a series of Symantec releases over the coming months including email archiving and automatic back-up in the event of a security breach or incident.