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Symantec to buy Altiris to add products

January 30, 2007|From Bloomberg News

Symantec Corp., the maker of computer anti-virus products, agreed Monday to buy Altiris Inc. for about $1.03 billion to gain programs that track corporate software use.

Altiris products help clients track, install and maintain their software on desktops, laptops, servers and hand-held devices. Symantec Chief Executive John Thompson is expanding the company's product line after reporting slowing sales of storage software sold to large customers last quarter.

"It's a far less-mature market and thus offers much more potential for growth," Morgan Keegan analyst Brian Freed said. "They're making their offering broader."

Altiris shareholders will receive $33 a share in cash, Cupertino, Calif.-based Symantec said. That's 22% more than Altiris' closing price of $27.14 on Friday. The purchase price includes about $200 million Altiris has on hand in cash and short-term investments.

This is Symantec's eighth acquisition since the 2005 purchase of storage-software maker Veritas Software Corp. for $10.2 billion. Thompson, 57, has been working to diversify beyond the slowing anti-virus market as he fends off competition from Microsoft Corp.

Shares of Symantec fell 25 cents to $17.52. Altiris shares jumped $5.41, or 20%, to $32.55.

"Altiris gives us a company with $200-plus million in cash flow that's growing two and a half to three times faster than our core business," Thompson said.

Symantec last week said net income rose 25% to $113.7 million, or 12 cents a share, missing its original forecast, after sales of storage software slowed. It was the second straight quarter Symantec missed its sales forecast.

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