Broadcom splashes £8.8bn on Symantec's enterprise arm

August 9, 2019 | 11:26

Tags: #acquisition #antivirus #daniel-h-schulman #hock-tan #norton-antivirus #security #security-software #symantec-antivirus

Companies: #broadcom #norton-lifelock #symantec

Chip-maker Broadcom has announced that it is expanding its efforts in the security business, acquiring the enterprise side of Symantec in an £8.8 billion all-cash deal.

After its attempt to acquire larger rival Qualcomm in a hostile takeover was formally halted by order of the US President, a move which may have triggered the company's redomiciliation plan, Broadcom has been looking for other acquisitions - despite dropping its outlook by $2 billion as a result of the ongoing US-China trade war and becoming the focus of a European Commission antitrust probe. Its 2018 acquisition of CA Technologies for £15.6 billion has now been followed by that of security software pioneer Symantec - though only the company's enterprise division, interestingly.

Founded in 1982 by Gary Hendrix on the back of a National Science Foundation grant, California-based Symantec Corporation shifted focus from artificial intelligence applications and productivity packages to security software with the acquisition of Peter Norton Computing in 1990. While today the Norton name is synonymous with Norton Antivirus and other security software, prior to the acquisition Norton had focused on productivity and file management packages for MS-DOS including Norton Utilities, Norton Commander, and Norton Backup. Norton Antivirus wouldn't follow until after the acquisition, and was a development of Symantec subsidiary Turner Hall Publishing originally published as Symantec Antivirus. By 1993 Norton-branded products, in particular the security software, accounted for the lion's share of Symantec's business; following a de-merger in 2015 Symantec has been focused wholly on security applications, with Veritas Technologies Corporation being spun out into private ownership.

Now, Symantec has shaken hands with chip-maker Broadcom in a deal valued at £8.8 billion in cash. For that, Broadcom receives Symantec's enterprise-focused business unit and the Symantec brand; Symantec as-is will retain its consumer-focused business unit, which will go forward using the Norton brand name.

'Symantec has a long history of offering unparalleled cyber technology,' claims Daniel H. Schulman, Symantec chair. 'It is a testament to our market leadership and dedication to the mission of making the world a safer place, that Broadcom has chosen Symantec’s Enterprise Security assets to expand their reach into cyber security. By unlocking value from Enterprise Security, we are significantly advancing our ongoing transformation strategy and positioning our consumer cyber safety business, Norton LifeLock, for success.'

'M&A [mergers and acquisitions] has played a central role in Broadcom's growth strategy and this transaction represents the next logical step in our strategy following our acquisitions of Brocade and CA Technologies,' claims Broadcom president and chief executive Hock Tan. 'Symantec's enterprise security business is recognised as an established leader in the growing enterprise security space and has developed some of the world's most powerful defence solutions that protect against today's evolving threat landscape and secure data from endpoint to cloud. We look forward to expanding our footprint of mission critical infrastructure software within our core Global 2000 customer base.'

The deal is subject to the usual regulatory approvals.

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