Symantec and Veritas to merge

Officials at two software companies with a strong presence in the government market, Symantec and Veritas, have announced that they will merge in an all-stock transaction valued at about $13.5 billion.

Symantec specializes in security software, while Veritas is known for storage products. Combined, the two companies will target customers who have the universal problem of making data available while simultaneously keeping it secure.

"Those are almost conflicting things," said Mark Bregman, chief technology officer at Veritas. "It's like your house. You want to let people come in and out freely, but you want to protect things from being stolen."

The combined company will operate under Symantec's name. The boards of both companies have approved the agreement, under which each share of Veritas stock will be converted to 1.1242 shares of Symantec stock.

John Thompson, chairman and chief executive officer of Symantec, will continue in both roles for the combined company. Gary Bloom, chairman, president and CEO at Veritas, will be vice chairman and president of the new entity.

The merger will benefit both companies, said Steve Hunt, vice president and research director for security at Forrester Research. Symantec is transforming itself into a major enterprise security management company, but it has some gaps, he said. Meanwhile, Veritas has been successful with backup and archiving systems, but has been looking for a way to get its products into the security market, he added.

Ajei Gopal, senior vice president of technology and corporate development at Symantec, agreed with that assessment. "I think the combined company will be uniquely positioned from the desktop to the enterprise," he said.

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