Symantec to get almost $1b plus stock in certificate business sale

DigiCert will part with $950 million upfront in cash, and hand Symantec a 30 percent stake in exchange for its website security unit.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

Symantec's embattled website security business is set to have new owners in the third quarter of next year, following the purchase of the business by DigiCert.

The terms of the deal will see Symantec receive $950 million in cash up front, and gain a 30 percent stake in DigiCert upon the closing of the transaction.

In recent months, Symantec has been embroiled in discussion with Google and Mozilla to begin a process of distrust in its TLS certificates. Last week, Google released its final proposal, which would see Chrome 66 remove trust from certificates issued prior to June 1, 2016 when it is released in April next year.

A year later when Chrome 70 is released, it is proposed the browser will distrust any certificate issued by Symantec's old infrastructure, including those sold after June 1, 2016.

Google first announced its intention to begin distrusting Symantec in March, with the original plan to see the validity window Symantec certificates were valid for reduced to nine months over a series of releases.

In a statement, Symantec CEO Greg Clark said selling the business would allow the security giant to "sharpen" its enterprise focus.

"We carefully examined our options to ensure our customers would have a world-class experience with a company that offers a modern website PKI platform and is poised to lead the next generation of website security innovation," he said.

"I'm thrilled that our customers will benefit from a seamless transition to DigiCert, a company that is solely focused on delivering leading identity and encryption solutions."

DigiCert said Symantec customers would be able to move to a "new platform that meets all industry standards and browser requirements and provides the foundation for future innovation in the certificate authority space for the benefit of customers".

The deal was announced alongside Symantec's Q1 earnings, which saw the company post a $133 million GAAP net loss on $1.18 billion in revenue -- a 33 percent increase year-on-year.

In non-GAAP terms, the company said it posted net income of $221 million for the quarter from $1.22 billion in revenue.

For the second quarter, the company is once again expecting a GAAP loss and a non-GAAP profit, with revenue increasing by around 25-29 percent. The forecast does not take into account the DigiCert transaction.

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