Symantec Reportedly in Talks to Acquire Veritas


Security software maker Symantec is reportedly in talks to buy back-up software power Veritas Software in a blockbuster deal that, at $13 billion, would be one of the largest of its kind.

According to the New York Times, which cited executives close to the negotiations, the companies are in advanced talks for a deal that could be consummated this week.

Symantec, which has gone on shopping sprees every year for the last few years, makes the successful line of Norton computer security products. Veritas is the market leader in software that saves and restores corporate data, according to research firms like IDC and Gartner.

A combination of the two large companies could create a formidable opponent in the market for not only protecting corporate data from malicious intruders and virus attacks, but quickly bringing that data back online. It would also be one of the largest software acquisitions ever, following on the heels of Oracle's agreement to acquire PeopleSoft for $10.3 billion.

According to Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Pete Gerr, the acquisition would give Symantec an immediate and very powerful presence in storage and network management, which are two of the areas the company has identified as strategic.

"[It] could also improve its presence in systems and applications management via Veritas' earlier acquisitions of Jareva and Precise."

Veritas shares were up 12 percent to $28.23 this morning; Shares of Symantec were down 13 percent from Monday night's closing, to $28.66.

Neither Symantec nor Veritas returned calls as of this writing. But the Times reported that talks have been ongoing for more than a month and that the pieces of the puzzle are almost complete. Several issues remain unresolved; the exact terms of the deal could not be determined.

Determined to be the leader in a market that includes rivals McAfee, Network Associates and Trend Micro, Symantec has spent the last few years acquiring companies, large and small.

In September, the Cupertino, Calif., concern acquired security software makers @stake and LIRIC Associates. But it has also turned its attention to acquiring spam-stopping companies, such as Brightmail and TurnTide.

Symantec's aggressive, acquisitive nature is also likely a move to fend off Microsoft, which has increasingly turned its attention to fighting spam and viruses after suffering spates of attacks on its own software.

While Symantec's desire to grow may stem from necessity in the face of competition, Veritas is a company in the midst of change. The Mountain View, Calif., outfit holds 40.4 percent revenue share in backup and archiving storage software.

But the company has spent the past two years trying to convince the high-tech world that it is a provider of utility computing services. The idea is to compete with IBM , HP and others in the emerging space for automating data flow on the network.


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