Symantec Takes Laissez-Faire Approach

Symantec, for now, will not meddle in how their newly acquired companies run their businesses.

A day after shaking the security industry out of its summer doldrums by making three major acquisitions, Symantec Corp. officials said that for the time being they have no plans to meddle in how Recourse Technologies Inc., Riptech Inc. and SecurityFocus run their businesses.

The companies respective technologies eventually will be integrated wherever makes sense, but they will continue to be sold as is in the near term, said Gail Hamilton, executive vice president of product delivery and response at Symantec, based in Cupertino, Calif.

"Over time, for example, well do things like integrate [Recourses] ManHunt with our security management system," Hamilton said. "But we intend to run them as stand-alone businesses for the foreseeable future."

SecurityFocus, for example, will continue to maintain its popular security mailing lists and portal Web site.

Thats not to say that there wont be some changes, however. There will likely be some job losses in areas where there are redundancies or overlap, such as administrative and back-office departments, Hamilton said. But Symantec anticipates that all of the top executives and other key employees from the three companies will remain once the acquisitions are finalized, which should be some time in August.

The CEOs of Recourse, Riptech and SecurityFocus will all become vice presidents and will report to Hamilton. But they will each retain direct control of their respective product lines and will take on other responsibilities where appropriate.

Symantec on Wednesday agreed to pay $355 million in cash for the three security companies.

Executives at SecurityFocus were surprised by Symantecs interest in acquiring their firm.

"We absolutely were not looking or being shopped around," said Arthur Wong, co-founder and CEO of SecurityFocus, based in San Mateo, Calif., which sells threat management solutions and maintains a huge database of vulnerability information. "Weve been getting good traction, winning new customers and we were actually getting to profitability ahead of schedule. It was just a really good fit with Symantec."

Wong added that Symantec officials have assured him that SecurityFocus will retain its independence and ability to publish objective information about vulnerabilities, including those found in Symantec products. The companys Bugtraq mailing list is perhaps the most well-known and widely read security list on the Internet and is often the first place that researchers publish information on new vulnerabilities.

"The charter for SecurityFocus, our community and Bugtraq is exactly the same," he said.