Symantec Agrees to Accept $1B Less for Veritas

The new agreement will boost the equity portion of the deal to 40% from 33%.
Matthew HellerJanuary 21, 2016

Cybersecurity firm Symantec has agreed to accept a lower price for its Veritas data storage unit from Carlyle Group after debt backing the largest leveraged buyout of 2015 failed to attract enough investors.

The parties said in a joint statement that they amended the $8 billion deal “after uncertainties developed regarding the transaction.” Under the revised terms, the purchase price will be $7.4 billion, with a net consideration to Symantec of $7 billion.

“In a difficult environment, we can move forward with a high degree of certainty around closing a transaction that represents attractive value for shareholders,” Symantec CEO Michael A. Brown said.

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Neither Symantec nor Carlyle would comment on the exact reasons for the renegotiation but Reuters said it “came after banks struggled to syndicate a $5.6 billion debt package backing the deal, amid turmoil in the leveraged finance markets.”

“The changes reflect the deterioration in credit markets since the deal was signed in August,” Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The deal is still expected to close on Jan. 29. The new agreement will boost the equity portion of the deal to 40% from 33%, and reduce leverage to 5.8 times earnings from 6.7 times earnings.

Dealmaking has slowed dramatically in the past two months, Reuters noted, as banks, faced with hundreds of millions of dollars of unsold debt they committed to fund mergers and acquisitions, have balked at providing new financing.

“Investors have either shunned the debt or demanded huge discounts to buy it, as the average price for leveraged [loans] plunged by the most since the 2008 financial crisis,” Bloomberg said.

Veritas is a provider of backup and recovery software. Credit ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service warned in November that pricing pressures, the shift to cloud-based storage, and alternative storage platforms could result in Veritas underperforming the overall market.

Symantec, which acquired Veritas for $13.5 billion in 2005, intended to use the proceeds from the sale to fortify and grow its cybersecurity business.