Symantec to acquire Altiris for $830 million

Symantec says it will bolster its endpoint security position with the acquisition of IT management software firm Altiris.

Symantec has announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire IT management software vendor Altiris Inc. for approximately $830 million. The Cupertino, Calif.-based antivirus giant said it will use Altiris to beef up its endpoint security offerings.
This acquisition is the clearest indication that Symantec fancies itself a competitor with IBM Tivoli rather than with McAfee.
Mike Rothman,
president and principal analystSecurity Incite

"The most secure endpoint is a well-managed endpoint. The best protection must be complemented by the ability to remediate and address vulnerabilities that could be exploited," Symantec Chairman and CEO John Thompson said in a statement. "By combining the endpoint management solutions of Altiris with the security expertise of Symantec, we believe we can offer customers a more comprehensive solution to protect and manage the millions of connected devices that make up the fabric of today's global IT infrastructure."

With Altiris' technology, Symantec hopes to be able to help customers better manage and enforce security policies at the endpoint, identify and protect against threats, and repair and service assets, Thompson said.

Under the terms of the agreement, Altiris stockholders will receive $33 per share of Altiris common stock in cash, resulting in a transaction value of approximately $830 million net-of-cash-acquired, Symantec said. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2007.

Mike Rothman, president and principal analyst of Security Incite in Atlanta, said the acquisition shows -- along with the acquisition of Veritas two years ago -- that Symantec is looking to move beyond being just a security company.

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"The complexion of the company has changed," he said. "This acquisition is the clearest indication that Symantec fancies itself a competitor with IBM Tivoli rather than with McAfee."

The move also shows that Symantec understands the need to shore up its IT management portfolio, he said.

"Security is a management discipline and this shows that Symantec understands that," Rothman said. "It's all about how you implement and automate security management."

Rothman has been critical of Symantec's lack of management muscle in the past. In an interview last summer, he said that while Symantec has a broad product line, it lacks the management linchpin that's needed for enterprises to make use of all its offerings.

Greg Butterfield, president and CEO of Altiris, said in a statement that by combining software solutions, services and channel distribution strengths, Symantec and Altiris can offer customers the "total package in endpoint management."

"Today's IT departments face constant pressures to manage spiraling IT complexity at the lowest possible cost," he said. "We have made it our goal to help businesses reduce the cost and complexity of IT, improve system and data security, and better align IT service with corporate objectives."

Altiris focuses on helping IT professionals manage security on company desktops, laptops, servers and handheld devices. The company has also focused on software virtualization technology designed to provide "faster, simpler and more manageable deployment of PC applications … to reduce support costs and streamline software operations," according to the statement.

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