Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Symantec buying Veritas ? Please say it ain't so!

Reports today indicate that Symantec is close to buying Veritas (VRTS) for around $13 billion. This just doesn't make sense for Symantec!

While Symantec has a few storage utilities, they can mostly be termed as desktop and not enterprise tools. Symantec is better off expanding its security business more deeply into related areas like firewall, intrusion detection, remote computing and identity management. A buy of Checkpoint (CHKP), Internet Security Systems (ISSX), Entrust (ENTU), SonicWall (SNWL) or Secure Computing (SCUR) would have made more sense.

I sure hope Veritas gets competing bids. Since Oracle is about to consume PeopleSoft, it may not go after Veritas though the combination is really attractive. Also, Oracle did say that it is looking for more application software buys, which makes a target like BEA Systems (BEAS) more likely.

The other player that stands to gain the most from acquiring Veritas is HP. I hope they don't miss this chance. Veritas, over the last couple of years, has made some smart software acquisitions that also fit neatly into HP's plans.

I do own Veritas shares, bought after the most recent earnings warning, bought mostly at around $17/share. Symantec is likely paying around $28/share. I think a rival bid nearing $33/share is justifiable.


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