Symantec shares up as private equity suitors sniff consumer tentacle

$16bn slapped on table by Permira and Advent – reports

Symantec shares have jumped almost 5 per cent following reports that it is close to offloading its consumer business to a pair of private equity investors.

Exactly a month ago, Symantec confirmed the sale of its enterprise business and brand name to chip firm Broadcom for $10.7bn. Early negotiations put a price tag of $15.5bn on the security firm but Broadcom balked at such a bill.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Symantec is edging closer to agreeing a $16bn deal to sell its consumer business, including the Norton antivirus and Life Lock anti-ID theft brands, to Permira and Advent, both private equity investors. The offer is reportedly for between $26 and $27 a share, which pushed Symantec's stock price up to $24.52.

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Agreement for the consumer unit will preserve the sale of the enterprise business to Broadcom, but it is not clear whether that would happen before the private equity takeover or after. Sources told the paper the deal could be structured in a way that would reduce Symantec's tax bill.

Broadcom and Symantec haggled over the price of its enterprise business to eventually settle on the $10.7bn price tag. The buy is expected to boost Broadcom's shift from chips to a broader tech infrastructure strategy.

Permira and Advent were also in the running to snap up all of Symantec before being pipped to the post by Broadcom, the WSJ claimed.

This latest divestment would cap an eventful few weeks for Symantec, which has spent much of the last year sorting out allegations of dodgy accounting and fighting off related shareholder lawsuits.

We've contacted all three companies and will update in the event that we hear back from them. ®




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