Is Symantec mulling a split?

Silicon Valley breakups appear to be trending as news began circulating today that Symantec Corp., is contemplating to split up its business into two entities.

If this happens, that would make the security software firm the third large technology company to break itself up in recent weeks.

On Monday, Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett-Packard Co. announced that HP was splitting into two companies: one focused on PC’s and printers and the other looking after enterprise hardware software and services. A couple of weeks before that online auction pioneer eBay Inc., announced plans to cleave its online payment unit PayPal into a separate company.

The maker of security, storage, and backup and availability software was founded in 1982 by Gary Hendrix with a National Science Foundation grant and originally focused on artificial intelligence-related projects. It helped pioneer anti-hacking solutions in the 1990s with its Norton Antivirus software.

The Mountain View, Calif., firm which made its interim chief executive officer, Michael Brown, permanent CEO last month, is reportedly exploring a breakup, according to online business publication, A Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC) spokesperson told CDN the software company does not comment on rumours.

Symantec, according to sources, intends to focus more on its core business. Brown is in favour of a breakup, according to Bloomberg’s source.

Symantec fired its former CEO and president Steve Bennet in March this year. Bennet was the second CEO to be let go in less than two years.

Since Brown’s takeover Symantec has consistently exceeded its revenue and operating margin guidance, according to a report from Symantec’s revenue for the first quarter of its 2015 fiscal year, ended July 2014 was US$1.7 billion. That’s up two per cent from the same quarter last year

Earlier this year, Symantec announced a revamp of its partner program aimed at streamlining the program and making it easier for partners to achieve competency in Symantec products and to receive rewards.

Too many partners were selling the same products and not making enough profit, while customers were not getting the products and services they needed, John Emard, senior director of North American channel programs and operations, said at that time.

“We had sales and marketing costs completely out of whack … we were extremely short term driven,” he said in a briefing with journalists. “We lacked a distribution strategy and we were not executing our route to market to get to the customers.”

Symantec reported a revenue decline in its latest fiscal year and its stocks lost 1.7 per cent this year. However, with rumours of the breakup spreading quickly, Symantec stocks went up 1.5 per cent to $23.54, this morning.




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Nestor Arellano
Nestor Arellano
Toronto-based journalist specializing in technology and business news. Blogs and tweets on the latest tech trends and gadgets.

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