Nov. 5, 2014, 4:03 PM
Oct. 10, 2014, 3:31 PM
- While calling Symantec's (NASDAQ:SYMC) decision to split its security and storage software ops into separate companies "an important step in fundamentally fixing the company," Morgan Stanley's Keith Weiss (Underweight) also thinks it increases near-term execution risk.
- Weiss: "While Symantec needs to expend significant energy and focus on fixing the structure of the company, integrating existing technologies and increasing its pace of innovation, the markets it addresses are rapidly evolving."
- Raymond James' Michael Turtis is more positive, upping shares to Outperform. While agreeing execution risks (along with strategic business risks) are high, he values Symantec at $25/share on a sum-of-the-parts basis if its units remain publicly traded, and $28/share if the storage unit becomes an acquisition target.
- Credit Suisse's Phil Winslow (Outperform) believes at least two potential suitors could exist for Symantec's storage software ops, and suspects the business could fetch $9B (still 21% less than Veritas' enterprise value at the time of the merger).
- Ratings agencies have put Symantec's debt on review for downgrade. They did the same for H-P following its split announcement.
- Shares have dived towards $22 on a day the Nasdaq is down 1.9%.
Oct. 9, 2014, 4:40 PM
Oct. 9, 2014, 4:11 PM
- Confirming a recent Bloomberg report, Symantec (NASDAQ:SYMC) announces it's splitting in two. One company, which will remain known as Symantec, will offer security software/services, and the other will offer storage management software/services.
- Michael Brown and Thomas Seifert will respectively remain the CEO and CFO of the security business. John Gannon, formerly Quantum's COO and the head of H-P's commercial PC ops, will run the storage business.
- The split will be structured as a tax-free spinoff to shareholders, and is expected to be finished by the end of 2015.
- The security ops had FY14 (ended March '14) revenue of $4.2B, and the storage ops revenue of $2.5B. Security claims an even larger share of Symantec's current op. profit.
- Symantec has used the occasion to reiterate its FQ2 guidance. Earnings are due on Nov. 5.
- Shares are halted.
Oct. 8, 2014, 10:35 AM| Comment!
Oct. 8, 2014, 12:42 AM
- Symantec (NASDAQ:SYMC) might be about to follow in eBay and H-P's footsteps: Bloomberg reports the company is in "advanced talks" to split its security and storage software ops, and that an announcement may happen within a few weeks.
- A source adds the post-breakup companies could draw M&A interest, given firms such as EMC and H-P have shown interest in one half or the other.
- Symantec's two security software units - one is focused on enterprise security, and the other on PC/mobile security - respectively grew 3% and 1% Y/Y in calendar Q2, while its storage software unit grew 1%. The security units accounted for 63% of revenue and 80% of segment op. profit.
- Both the security and storage ops have been seeing tough competition from a mixture of IT giants (EMC, IBM, Intel/McAfee) and hungry upstarts (CommVault, Veeam, Proofpoint, FireEye), something that may have led Michael Brown (just named permanent CEO) to decide each business would be more agile/competitive as a separately-managed entity.
- A split would effectively undo Symantec's 2005 merger with Veritas. Symantec currently trades below where it did prior to the Dec. 2004 merger announcement.
Sep. 30, 2014, 1:15 PM
- Traps, a new Palo Alto Networks (PANW -0.9%) endpoint security offering that leverages technology obtained from the Cyvera acquisition, blocks 23 sets of malware techniques on PCs and mobile devices. Like several other Palo Alto offerings, it's sold as a subscription service.
- Palo Alto touts Traps' ability to automate endpoint protection, and (thanks to Cyvera's tech) to proactively scan for known malware techniques rather than wait for a threat alert to be triggered. The solution integrates with Palo Alto's WildFire threat-analysis service (has 3K+ customers).
- Traps takes aim at Symantec (SYMC +0.4%), historically a major player in the endpoint security space, and also at FireEye (FEYE -2.6%), which has bought rapidly-growing endpoint security software/services firm Mandiant and has since used Mandiant to launch integrated hardware/software endpoint solutions. Intel's McAfee unit also competes in this market.
- Palo Alto CEO Mark McLaughlin says Traps will join the list of Palo Alto products being sold by partner VMware. VMware is working to integrate Palo Alto's products with its NSX networking virtualization/SDN platform (expected to see major uptake over the next few years).
Sep. 25, 2014, 4:09 PM
- Michael A. Brown, who has been serving as Symantec's (NASDAQ:SYMC) interim CEO since March (following the firing of Steve Bennett), has been named the company's permanent CEO.
- Brown was once the CEO of storage hardware vendor Qunatum, and has also worked as a chairman and "CEO coach" for several tech companies prior to their acquisitions (of interest given M&A reports that arrived earlier this year). He'll share a new "strategic plan" within the next 30 days.
Sep. 3, 2014, 5:38 PM
- Home Depot has hired Symantec (NASDAQ:SYMC) and private FishNet Security to help investigate a suspected credit/debit card data breach.
- Early reports suggest the breach took place in April, and could involve 2K+ Home Depot stores. Much like other security software firms, Symantec has been trying to grow its exposure to a burgeoning cybersecurity software/services market.
Aug. 6, 2014, 4:21 PM
- Though it beat FQ1 estimates, Symantec (NASDAQ:SYMC) is guiding for FQ2 revenue of $1.6B-$1.64B and EPS of $0.40-$0.44, unfavorable to a consensus of $1.63B and $0.45. FY15 (ends March '15) guidance is for revenue of $6.63B-$6.77B and EPS of $1.84-$1.92, in-line with a consensus of $6.69B and $1.88.
- License revenue tumbled 15% Y/Y in FQ1 to $161M. Content, subscription & maintenance revenue rose 4% to $1.57B. Symantec's deferred revenue balance fell 4% to $3.71B.
- Information Security (enterprise security) revenue +3% Y/Y to $345M, user productivity/protection (PC/mobile security) +1% to $740M, information management (storage software) +1% to $650M. User productivity/protection made up a majority of segment op. profit ($270M out of $427M).
- Opex was 58.7% of revenue vs. 58.4% a year ago. $125M was spent on stock repurchases.
- SYMC +0.3% AH. FQ2 results, PR.
Aug. 6, 2014, 4:13 PM
Aug. 4, 2014, 10:20 AM
- The Chinese government's procurement agency has warned departments not to use antivirus software from Symantec (SYMC -0.6%) and fellow U.S. supplier Kaspersky Lab.
- Qihoo (QIHU +3.4%), which has a giant share of the Chinese antivirus software market, is rallying, though it's worth noting several other Chinese tech companies are also doing well.
- Previously, China's Public Security Ministry had warned Symantec's Data Loss Prevention software had security loopholes that could enable outside access. As in several other regions, NSA-related tensions have been running high in the Middle Kingdom. Local authorities have also launched an anti-monopoly probe against Microsoft.
- The whole of Asia-Pac accounted for 17% of Symantec's FQ4 revenue. FQ1 results arrive on Wednesday.
Jul. 10, 2014, 3:57 PM
- Sources tell dealReporter Symantec (SYMC +1%) is seeing fresh interest from P-E firms. Shares have turned positive after spending most of the day in the red.
- Reuters reported in April Bain, Blackstone, and Carlyle were among the firms eying the security/storage software vendor. But the news service added there were no serious talks going on. Activist ValueAct Capital disclosed a stake in May.
Jul. 7, 2014, 2:12 PM
- Citrix (CTXS -0.6%) has hired Brian Dye, formerly the head of Symantec's (SYMC -0.7%) Information Security unit (offers a variety of enterprise/data center security software), to head its Mobile Platforms Group.
- Dye will be in charge of Citrix's XenMobile mobile device/app management (MDM) platform, along with other products (mobile virtualization software, data access/syncing , etc.) in Citrix's Mobile Workspace Suite.
- XenMobile has its roots in Citrix's 2012 Zenprise acquisition. Citrix mentioned on its Q1 CC (transcript) its mobile platform sales were up "well over" 100% Y/Y, albeit while adding they're still a small % of total revenue. The company faces competition from VMware, SAP, BlackBerry, Microsoft, and several others.
- Dye's departure is the latest in a slew of executive departures to hit Symantec over the last 12 months. The company is 4 months removed from firing CEO Steve Bennett.
Jul. 1, 2014, 9:15 AM
- Citing growth challenges and the rally that has followed CEO Steve Bennett's March firing, BMO has downgraded Symantec (SYMC) to Market Perform, albeit while raising its PT by $2 to $24.
- Shares have been range-bound since mid-May, after rallying on reports of P-E interest and news of ValueAct Capital's stake.
May 15, 2014, 9:07 AM
- ValueAct Capital, fresh off securing a Microsoft board seat, has disclosed a 7.6M-share (1.1%) stake in Symantec (SYMC).
- Reuters reported in April ValueAct is among the activist investors thinking of buying into Symantec in the wake of Steve Bennett's firing. The news service has also reported P-E firms are eying the company, and that Symantec is hiring banks to explore strategic options.
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Symantec Corp provides security, backup and availability solutions. Its products and services protect people and information in any environment, from the smallest mobile device, to the enterprise data center, to cloud-based systems.
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