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‘Symantec could be taken private as PE tech investor takes aim’
Posted on Wednesday, 07 November 2018 12:39
Shares in Symantec surged as much as 18.0 per cent yesterday, its fastest speed in the last decade, after media reports suggested private equity firm Thoma Bravo has approached the US-based cybersecurity group regarding a takeover.

Reuters was one of the first to cite sources with knowledge on the situation as saying, while there is no certainty the talks will lead to a deal, the two have started discussions.

These insiders asked not to be identified as the matter is still private, while Symantec and Thoma Bravo either declined or were not available for comment when contacted by the news provider.

Should a deal go ahead, it would be one of the largest leveraged buyouts of the year, according to Zephyr, the M&A database published by Bureau van Dijk.

In addition, it would help the Norton antivirus software maker regain its holding in the cyber security market, which more players are entering by the day, Reuters observed.

While the potential payment for the company could not be learned, the news provider cited analysts at Wedbush as saying Symantec could receive between USD 26.00 and USD 30.00 per share in a buyout, which could value the business at USD 19.00 billion.

The group’s stock closed up 12.6 per cent yesterday at USD 22.54, its highest price since May, giving the firm a market capitalisation of USD 14.40 billion.

Symantec, billed as the world’s leading cyber security company, also has about USD 5.00 billion in its debt pile, which would be a considering factor in the potential takeover.

The group’s Norton and LifeLock products allow businesses and individuals to keep their Internet-connected devices safe from cyber threats.

News comes just a day after Symantec acquired Javelin Networks, a privately-held company that offers advanced software to defend against active directory-based attacks.

It generated revenue of USD 2.33 billion in the six months to 30th September 2018, a slight decrease from USD 2.42 billion in the corresponding period of 2017.

Thoma Bravo has also been actively expanding its technology investments over the last month, signing a USD 950.00 million acquisition of Veracode from the newly combined Broadcom/CA business, as well as its USD 2.10 billion planned takeover of Imperva.

Symantec already has private equity backing from Bain Capital and Silver Lake; one source noted that they may choose to participate in the potential deal as investors as an alternative to cashing in.

© Zephus Ltd