May. 5, 2014, 3:45 AM
- Antivirus "is dead," says Brian Dye, senior VP for information security at Symantec (SYMC), the company that pioneered such software in the late 1980s. Dye reckons that the products catch only 45% of cyberattacks. "We don't think of antivirus as a moneymaker in any way."
- Except that antivirus still contributes over 40% of Symantec's revenues.
- To reduce that reliance, the company is looking to follow an industry trend, and develop products and services that spot malicious software that's breached a computer's defenses and minimize the impact.
- "If customers are shifting from protect to detect and respond, the growth is going to come from detect and respond," Dye says.
Apr. 15, 2014, 1:26 PM
- ValueAct Capital, which won a Microsoft board seat last year, is among the activist investors thinking of taking a stake in Symantec (SYMC), sources tell Reuters.
- Meanwhile, P-E firms including Bain, Blackstone, and Carlyle have reportedly "started assessing the possibility of a leveraged buyout of all or parts of Symantec." Reuters adds some P-E firms "have approached Symantec in recent weeks to discuss deal possibilities," but there are currently no serious talks going on.
- 11 days ago, Reuters and Bloomberg reported Symantec is hiring one or more banks to explore its options and defend itself against activists following the firing of CEO Steve Bennett.
- Shares are near breakeven on a rough day for the Nasdaq.
Apr. 11, 2014, 9:48 AM
- Corning (GLW -1.4%) has been cut to Neutral by UBS.
- Symantec (SYMC -1.3%) has been cut to Equal Weight by Barclays.
- TE Connectivity (TEL +1.3%) has been upgraded to Buy by BofA/Merrill.
- Imperva (IMPV +1.6%) has received a contrarian upgrade to Buy from Sterne Agee a day after falling 44% due to its Q1 warning.
- Demandware (DWRE +0.9%) has been upgraded to Outperform by BMO.
- Ellie Mae (ELLI -5%) has been cut to Market Perform by FBR.
Apr. 4, 2014, 4:02 PM
- JPMorgan will advise Symantec (SYMC +1.1%) on exploring strategic options and defending itself against would-be activist investors, sources tell Bloomberg.
- Reuters is out with a similar report, but doesn't explicitly state which bank Symantec is hiring. It does, however, report major activist funds "have already started examining the company as a potential target."
- Shares plunged to new 52-week lows two weeks ago after Symantec fired CEO Steve Bennett. Bennett moved aggressively to cut costs and streamline Symantec's enormous product line, but failed to invigorate growth and halt security/storage software share losses to rivals large and small.
- Symantec has closed higher on a brutal day for tech stocks.
Mar. 24, 2014, 9:43 AM
- VMware (VMW +0.7%) has been upgraded to Buy by Sterne Agee. Shares are near their 52-week high of $111.45.
- Yelp (YELP +1.4%) has been upgraded to Outperform by JMP. The firm cites Yelp's local ad momentum, and the potential for better monetization of international markets (just 4% of Q4 revenue).
- Symantec (SYMC +2.4%) has been upgraded to Outperform by BMO. A slew of firms downgraded shares on Friday following news of CEO Steve Bennett's firing.
- NetApp (NTAP -2.8%) has been cut to Underweight by Morgan Stanley. The company announced two weeks ago it's cutting 600 jobs, while citing a weak IT spending environment.
- KEYW Holding (KEYW -4.4%) has been cut to Neutral by Sterne Agee. The company held its analyst day on Friday, and disclosed on Thursday CFO John Krobath will be leaving.
- Gartner (IT -1.6%) has been cut to Market Perform by Wells Fargo.
Mar. 21, 2014, 12:46 PM
Mar. 21, 2014, 11:27 AM
- Symantec (SYMC -13.6%) will now "face another multi-year period of upheaval, management turnover and strategic uncertainty as it tries to reposition and transform a largely legacy business of security and infrastructure software and services," thinks MKM's Israel Hernandez, downgrading shares to Sell.
- Hernandez also thinks finding "a willing and capable CEO" to replace the fired Steve Bennett will be tough, expects executive turnover (already an issue) to pick up, thinks the company will be hard-pressed to hit its 5% FY17 growth target, and believes steep valuations and buyback/dividend commitments will make growing via M&A tough.
- Altogether, 7 firms have downgraded Symantec today. Cowen, which has cut shares to Market Perform, says it now has less confidence in Symantec's long-term margin targets. Jefferies, lowering shares to Hold, thinks weakening internal morale/execution is a risk.
- Shares now only go for 8.4x FY15E (ends March '15) EPS after factoring net cash, a valuation well below that of most enterprise software peers. A contrarian buying opportunity or a value trap?
- Previous: Symantec fires CEO; storage vet named interim CEO
Mar. 21, 2014, 9:15 AM
Mar. 20, 2014, 5:43 PM
Mar. 20, 2014, 4:41 PM
Mar. 20, 2014, 4:15 PM
- Symantec (SYMC) CEO Steve Bennett has been axed after less than two years on the job. Director/storage industry vet Michael Brown has been named interim CEO while the company looks for a permanent successor. (PR)
- Chairman Daniel Schulman says Bennett's firing "was the result of an ongoing deliberative process, and not precipitated by any event or impropriety."
- Symantec shares rallied strongly after Bennett was named CEO in July 2012, as investors gave a thumbs-up to his efforts to cut costs and streamline Symantec's product line. But they've underperformed over the last eight months amid earnings disappointments and ongoing share losses.
- Symantec saw a series of executive departures last fall. The company is reiterating its March quarter guidance.
Jan. 30, 2014, 10:19 AM
- Though Symantec (SYMC -7%) beat FQ3 estimates, the company has guided for FQ4 revenue of $1.615B-$1.655B and EPS of $0.40-$0.42, below a consensus of $1.67B and $0.46.
- Like plenty of other tech companies, Symantec's Asia-Pac sales (17% of revenue) have come under pressure: They fell 12% Y/Y in FQ3. NSA fallout could be a factor. But Americas and EMEA sales were only comparatively better, declining 4% and 1% respectively.
- Symantec's User Productivity & Protection (PC/mobile security software, 42% of revenue) sales fell 4% Y/Y in FQ3 vs. 3% in FQ2. Information Security (enterprise security, 19% of revenue) sales fell 3% vs. 2%; Information Management (storage software) sales fell 6% vs. 5%. The numbers point to share loss against rivals such as McAfee (Intel), CommVault, and Veeam.
- Symantec's deferred revenue balance fell 6% Y/Y to $3.59B. FQ3 EPS got a boost from $125M in buybacks. It also benefited from a 14% Y/Y drop in opex to $1.02B, the result of job cuts.
- CC transcript
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Jan. 16, 2014, 2:14 PM
- William Blair's Jason Ader thinks CommVault's (CVLT +6.3%) consensus FQ3 (Dec. quarter) revenue estimate ($144M) "does not represent a high hurdle," given the storage software vendor's ongoing momentum at large enterprises.
- Ader also reports reseller checks once again indicated "CommVault remains the superior solution in the large-enterprise backup space despite Symantec's (SYMC +0.5%) recent NetBackup 7.6 release and recent IBM investments in the Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) platform."
- Piper downplayed the threat posed by NetBackup 7.6 in a December note, and declared pricing fears unwarranted given CommVault already undercuts Symantec by 20%-25%.
- CommVault shares have badly underperformed the Nasdaq in recent months due to a combo of growth concerns and steep multiples. CommVault reports on the morning of Jan. 29, and Symantec in the afternoon.
SYMC vs. ETF Alternatives
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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