Symantec Unloads Veritas to Carlyle for $8 Billion in Leveraged Buyout Deal
After months of reportedly looking for an IT industry suitor, Symantec (SYMC) sold off its ill-fitting Veritas data storage business for $8 billion to an investment consortium led by the Carlyle Group, in a move to stock its cash reserves to compete in the white-hot cyber security market.
The deal is said to be the largest U.S. leveraged buyout so far this year. Symantec said the transaction, which is expected to close by January 1, 2016, will yield it about $6.3 billion in net cash proceeds. The buying group includes Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC and others.
Veritas’ information management business spans backup and recovery, archiving, eDiscovery, storage management and information availability solutions. It generated $2.6 billion in revenue in the 2015 fiscal year ended March 31.
The deal comes four months ahead of Symantec’s planned split into two separate companies, with Veritas slated to become operationally independent by October 3 and legally separated by January 2, 2016. All that now is off the table.
“Taking this decisive step forward will enable each business to maximize its potential,” said Michael Brown, Symantec chief executive. “Both businesses will have substantial operational and financial scale to thrive.”
At the deal’s close, William Coleman, who founded BEA, will serve as Veritas chief executive, and IT industry luminary Bill Krause, who formerly ran 3Com, will be its chairman.
“Bill Coleman is a proven leader whose strategic vision and strong execution skills will leverage Veritas’s newfound position as a private, stand-alone company to grow the firm and provide customers an integrated information management solution,” said Patrick McCarter, a Carlyle managing director.
Symantec signaled as recently as last April that it was looking to unload the Veritas business, which it bought in 2004 for some $13.5 billion but never was able to fully integrate it with its core security operation in a classic square-peg-round-hole scenario.
Earlier reports said Symantec had approached storage providers EMC (EMC), NetApp (NTAP) and a number of private equity firms with trial balloons to test the market for a Veritas sale. Tax liabilities associated with splitting the company were said to be limiting the interest of potential buyers.
Symantec boss Brown previously acknowledged the company’s growth had been saddled by its complex organization and slowed by the perception that rivals such as Palo Alto Networks (PANW) and FireEye (FEYE) are more in tune with today’s security issues.
He said Symantec has lined up a number of new, “much stronger products” to unwrap later this year to directly address the issue.
In January, Symantec resurrected the Veritas name for its spun-off information management business, sporting a new logo but saying it will rely on the original company’s brand recognition, history and reputation to help the new entity establish its own identity.
For Symantec’s channel partners, the Veritas sale should have a similar impact as the planned spin off. The size of the Symantec technology and service portfolio, a lack of synergy between Veritas and the security business and poor execution didn’t accommodate most partners.
Symantec also said it has raised its stock buyback program by $1.5 billion.