Symantec acquires Veritas

Partners are still digesting the US$13.5 billion acquisition of Veritas by Symantec, a deal which will see the creation of a security and storage powerhouse.

However, they’ll have to wait until the second quarter, when the transaction is expected to close.

Brian Olafson, sales director

at Micro Alternative Solutions in Markham, Ont., said he wants to see how the merged firm will be structured.

“”Veritas is very much a standalone product when compared to anything inside if Symantec. It’s a separate product altogether,”” said Olafson, who resells products from both firms.

“”As it sits right now, really none of Symantec’s products integrate in any way, shape or form with Veritas’s principle business suites.””

The two software companies believe the marriage will meet the needs of IT managers who are seeking an over-arching solution to their security and storage challenges.

Under the terms of the agreement the merged firm will operate under the Symantec name and be lead by Symantec chief executive John Thompson. The two companies said their combined aggregate revenue is expected to be approximately US$5 billion, with approximately 75 per cent of the revenue expected to come from the enterprise business. Symantec is best known for its Norton line of firewall products, while Veritas organizes its portfolio of storage software under the Com-mandCentral suite.

Security and storage represent some of the leading areas of IT growth, according to market research firm IDC, which has forecast worldwide spending on security and business continuity to reach more than US$116 billion by 2007.

In Canada, companies like IBM have committed US$40 million to grow its security business, while Evans Research recently said total revenues for enterprise storage firms in the third quarter of this year were up 15 per cent compared to the same time last year.

“”Buying software where they wanted to resist viruses and some of other mischief, and then solutions to combat errors or natural disaster — those were separate (purchases),”” Mark Bregman, Veritas’s CTO, told CDN. “”Now they are components of a broader sort of thing.””

Although Symantec and Veritas operate in different product categories, Bregman said the merged firm would have a wide set of products and capabilities. “”What we’re doing is recognizing that customers’ information is as important to us as it is to them,”” he said. “”Security and availability are two adjacent pieces.””

Synergy

Ajei Gopal, Symantec’s senior vice-president of global technology and corporate development, said initial areas of synergy would include e-mail management, where Symantec offers products to combat spam through its acquisition of BrightMail, for instance, and Veritas has products for e-mail archiving. Both firms also have products designed to help enterprises comply with various regulatory requirements, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation in the United States and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act in Canada.

In the long term, Gopal said the combined entity would be able to create a more integrated product set that would allow IT managers to set up a more effective early warning system that would predict threats to a network before they happen. As a virus attack loomed, for example, the system might determine the mission-critical data that would need to be backed up.

“”We’ll have the ability to give customers real insight on the threat situation that’s out there,”” he said.

The merger, which had been rumoured for a week, took several IT industry professionals off guard.

“”That surprised me when I heard about that one,”” said Tom Jenkins, the chief executive of content management specialist Open Text, who was in Toronto to promote his recent book. “”I guess you could make an argument for anything, but putting security within storage . . . I would think those would be approached a bit differently.””

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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