Mon, Apr. 13, 2:44 PM
- After surging before the close on Friday thanks to a WSJ report stating the company is exploring a sale of its Veritas storage software unit that (in the opinion of a source) could fetch more than $8B, Symantec (NASDAQ:SYMC) is now barely above its Thursday close.
- Likely playing a role: Reuters has followed up by reporting Symantec has been seeking buyers for Veritas, if not for the entire company, for months, and that "interest from potential buyers has been limited because of a tax burden associated with splitting the company." Symantec is said to have reached out to EMC, NetApp, and P-E firms.
- Analysts like the idea of a Veritas sale. Cowen: "Timing aside, we do believe that suitable buyers exist, with Oracle, NetApp, and EMC, the most likely strategic bidders, but PE also very possible ... Given Veritas’ low growth profile and tough competition, we believe this would be a good exit for SYMC..."
- Sterne Agee: "Both EMC and and NetApp have likely been afforded the opportunity to consider this acquisition before – we would be surprised if either vendor were to actively pursue this M&A."
- Jefferies: "We very roughly assume a $3bn tax basis and 40% tax on any gain on the sale of Veritas, which translates to $2bn in tax leakage on an $8bn transaction." The firm only values Veritas at $5B, but admits "low interest rates and high degrees of financial leverage present upside risk to our valuation."
- Meanwhile, a Piper Q1 security reseller survey found 38% stating their Symantec sales are below plan vs. 13% above plan. Moreover, for Q2, Symantec is said to have "the weakest [sales] pipeline of all vendors, with 50 percent of resellers expecting below normal seasonality."
Fri, Apr. 10, 4:01 PM
- The WSJ reports Symantec (NASDAQ:SYMC) is exploring a sale of its storage software unit. The business, once more known as Veritas, is set to be spun off by year's end.
- P-E firms and "possible industry bidders" have reportedly been contacted. One source states "potential buyers approached Symantec about Veritas before it began contacting possible bidders" while adding the business could fetch more than $8B; Symantec currently sports a $17.2B market cap. Taxes related to a sale are seen as a potential roadblock.
- Symantec, whose storage software ops saw revenue rise only 1% Y/Y in FQ3 amid tough competition, has shot higher on the report. The company's analyst day arrives on April 17, and its FQ4 report on May 14.
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
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. 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.
May. 14, 2014, 5:38 PM
May. 8, 2014, 4:15 PM
- Symantec (SYMC) expects FQ1 revenue of $1.65B-$1.69B and EPS of $0.41-$0.43 vs. a consensus of $1.64B and $0.43. FY15 guidance is for revenue of $6.63B-$$6.77B and EPS of $1.84-$1.92 vs. a consensus of $6.69B and $1.83.
- FQ4 segment data highlights ongoing share losses: User productivity/protection (PC/mobile security software, 43% of revenue) -6% Y/Y vs. -4% in FQ3. Information management (storage software, 38% of revenue) -7% vs. -6%, infomration security (enterprise security, 19% of revenue) -2% vs. -3%.
- Thanks to job cuts, opex fell to 56.4% of revenue from 58.7% a year ago. Gross margin fell 30 bps to 83.9%, and $125M was spent on buybacks.
- Symantec thinks it can achieve a 30% op. margin by FY15's fourth quarter, up from 27.3% in the last quarter.
- Expectations were fairly low after shares tumbled in response to Steve Bennett's firing.
- FQ4 results,.PR
May. 8, 2014, 4:06 PM
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
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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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