discuss the possibility of acquisitions and the defense of the company's turf
in the security space after announcing strong third-quarter results.
Symantec officials emerged from the third quarter of fiscal 2008 upbeat
about both the possibility of acquisitions and Symantec's place in the security
While CEO John Thompson stressed that the
company had no big acquisition plans looming, he said Symantec will look to buy
companies that fit into its plans around security and data management.
"As a general rule we're focused on securing and managing the world's
information, and so you should expect us to do transactions within those
categories of activity," Thompson said. "Now we also recognize [that]
in order to secure and manage the world's information you've got to do more to
help them automate their infrastructure, so there's likely to be some server
management-related activities we'll engage in as well."
Symantec just acquired Vontu in December 2007 for $350 million, and closed on
an $830 million deal for Altiris in April. The Vontu purchase was meant to
expand Symantec's footprint in the data loss prevention space at a time when a
number of security vendors are also making a similar acquisitions. Thompson
said the company will look to integrate Vontu's data loss prevention technology
with Enterprise Vault, Symantec Endpoint Protection, and its mail security
appliances and storage products.
"The early synergies in both product development and sales from Altiris
and Vontu have been encouraging, as they help to underpin new growth initiatives
for our company," Thompson said. "It is my belief that these types of
acquisitions should add new top-line growth for Symantec and help improve our
operating returns. I would expect us to continue to look for acquisitions that
drive revenue growth and enhance our net income."
The company earned $1.52 billion in revenue during the fiscal year that
ended in December, beating predictions of analysts polled by Thomson Financial
that the company would produce $1.45 billion in revenue. Symantec itself
had forecast a profit of 25 to 30 cents per share on revenue of $1.43 billion
to $1.47 billion.
Symantec's net income rose to $132 million, or 15 cents per share,
in its fiscal third quarter, from $117 million, or 12 cents per share, during
the same period a year prior.
Symantec Chief Operating Officer Enrique Salem reported a high adoption
rate for Norton 360, which he said accounted for more than 25 percent of the
company's consumer sales-Symantec's most successful consumer launch to date.
Version 2.0 of Norton 360 is expected to launch by the end of March, Salem
Symantec Endpoint Protection 11.0 has gotten off to a good start as well, Salem
said, adding the company shipped 23 million units of SEP.
While Symantec has been challenged in the endpoint security arena by vendors
such as McAfee and Sophos, Thompson said the success of Symantec's endpoint
product shows the company is defending its turf.
"I think it's quite clear in our results that SEP 11.0 has
certainly arrested any declines that we have seen in our endpoint security
business," Thompson said.