Symantec Chief Operating Officer Enrique Salem says the company is planning roughly $1 billion in annual acquistions over the next few years.
The strategy will involve three to six acquisitions annually, Salem told me during a luncheon with reporters at the Symantec Partner Engage event.
Admittedly, Symantec stumbled quite a bit with the 2005 buyout of Veritas. But I think Symantec-- and many big software companies loaded with cash -- should go on a buying binge during the current economic turmoil.
Consider the facts:
- Valuations for software companies are down
- Start-up software companies face tight lending policies and can't launch initial public offerings
- Symantec ranks among the four largest software companies in the world
Still, Symantec has some challenges. The company has been hit-and-miss in the software as a service (SaaS) market. Symantec's big SaaS play -- known as the Symantec Protection Network -- was somewhat late to market, and got off to a slow start.
Just last week, Symantec moved to acquire MessageLabs to strengthen the company's SaaS security play. And on Oct. 16, Symantec announced a partner program for the Symantec Protection Network initiative.
Solid progress, to be sure. But Symantec needs to bolster its SaaS play -- and fast. Spending $1 billion a year on three to six companies annually could help. However, the 2005 Symantec-Veritas deal shows that the company will need to more closely manage their acquisition efforts.