News

Anatomy of the Deal: Symantec Corp. to Acquire Altiris Inc. Jan. 29, 2007

The Companies: Symantec, based in Cupertino, Calif., is a leading vendor of security software, including anti-virus and network security products. Lindon, Utah-based Altiris provides software that allows companies to manage network endpoints, such as laptops, mobile devices or storage repositories.

Symantec reported revenues of $4.1 billion for its last fiscal year ending March 31, 2006. Altiris reported revenues of $187 million for its fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2005; at press time, it had not reported numbers for 2006.

Both companies are Gold Certified Partners.

The Terms: Symantec agreed to buy Altiris for about $830 million, or $33 per share of Altiris common stock, in a cash deal.

The Technology: Symantec officials say that Altiris's endpoint management capabilities will complement Symantec's endpoint security offerings.

"Symantec is heavy on endpoint security," says Rob Clyde, VP of technology at Symantec. "We've come to the conclusion that a secure endpoint is a well-managed endpoint. Altiris has built a very powerful, standards-based, open platform. That was very positive to us."

Steve Madigan, vice president of corporate development at Altiris, says that Symantec and Altiris should be able to integrate Symantec's security applications with Altiris's management products with little functional conflict. "Probably the most important point was that we felt that there was not a great degree of product overlap," Madigan says.

Symantec was also especially interested in Altiris's Software Virtualization Solution (SVS), Clyde says. SVS allows for deployment of desktop applications through virtualization.

Clyde expects that the merged organization should have a product roadmap in the second quarter of 2007.

The Structure: Altiris will function as a business unit within Symantec. At press time, the companies couldn't discuss potential management or personnel moves because they were awaiting regulatory approval for the deal.

However, Clyde notes that Symantec was interested in Altiris because of the strength of its development and sales teams. "This is a company that we valued from a technology perspective, and in the software business, technology equals people," he says.

Adds Madigan: "There was an explicit interest on the part of Symantec in keeping Altiris whole and allowing us to operate within the company."

The Channel: Clyde says that the two companies are awaiting regulatory approval of the deal before finalizing a plan to merge their two channel operations. Symantec recently beefed up its channel program (see "Symantec Seeks Partner Feedback").

The Analysis: Although Altiris brings some useful applications into Symantec's arsenal, integrating Altiris into the company might be Symantec's biggest challenge, especially in light of the company's other recent acquisitions, according to one analyst.

"By buying Altiris, Symantec gets some well-regarded tools, a different indirect channel and a lot of confusion around the 'policy compliance' security offerings," Mike Rothman, president and principal analyst at Security Incite, an Atlanta-based security research firm, wrote in his blog at securityincite.com. "Symantec had ESM [Enterprise Security Manager], bought BindView [Development Corp., a maker of security-compliance software] and now will control Altiris' SecurityExpressions (formerly Pedestal) technology. My gut says Symantec will focus on BindView, but the worst case for both Symantec and customers is for the answer to be 'D'--all of the above."

About the Author

Lee Pender is the executive features editor of Redmond magazine. You can reach him at lpender@redmondmag.com or follow him on Twitter.

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