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Wednesday 07 November 2018

Speculation points to Symantec PE buyout

Symantec logoThe Financial Times reported this morning that Symantec is being targeted for potential takeover by US private equity group Thoma Bravo after the cyber security company posted disappointing financial results last week,

It's possible that any new owner would consider splitting Symantec’s consumer and enterprise divisions should their mixed fortunes continue, but Thoma Bravo has already made some sizeable investments in enterprise security companies to date.

Those include Barracuda Networks which it brought for US$1.6bn in February and secure access solution start-up Bomgar purchased for an undisclosed sum in 2016. The PE company also unveiled a proposal to buy application security testing company Veracode for US$950m from Broadcom earlier this week, and has minority investments in McAfee as well as identity access management (IAM) software specialist SailPoint.

A deal for Symantec would be Thoma Bravo’s largest foray into the cyber security market to date however, with price estimations ranging between US$14bn and US$19bn. It certainly looks to us like a good time to buy Symantec on paper – its shares fell sharply after its FY18 results were clouded by an audit committee investigation (since completed with relatively minor fallout) though their value subsequently rose 13% today.

Viewed alongside Sophos’ subdued H1 results reported this morning, there is a worrying indication that some cyber security suppliers are battling to maintain their previously strong momentum. Symantec’s enterprise business in particular has been struggling recently after a period of major restructuring following the US$7.4bn sale of its Veritas unit and the US$4.65bn Blue Coat and US$2.3bn LifeLock acquisitions.

That said, Symantec management are confident the company now has the portfolio in place to reverse that enterprise decline. And its rivals (see our Cyber Security Supplier Ranking 2018 report) will be justifiably nervous that any large Thoma Bravo cash injection to drive sales impetus and increase RnD spend could leave them floundering in Symantec’s wake.

Posted by Martin Courtney at '09:33' - Tagged: buyout   cybersecurity   Symantec   ThomaBravo  

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