The Cloud

Symantec Expands to Cloud With Blue Coat Buy

The $4.65 billion deal combines Symantec's antivirus software for PCs with Blue Coat's cloud-based cybersecurity offerings.
Katie Kuehner-HebertJune 13, 2016

Symantec has agreed to acquire Blue Coat Systems for $4.65 billion in a deal that not only would expand the cybersecurity firm’s offerings on the cloud, but also give it a new chief executive.

The price is almost double what Bain Capital paid in March 2015 to acquire Blue Coat from another private-equity firm, Thomas Bravo. While Symantec has pioneered antivirus software that runs on personal computers, Blue Coat’s technology is used by more than 15,000 companies to block dangerous or inappropriate websites.

“This is an extremely compelling combination,” Symantec’s chairman Dan Schulman told the Wall Street Journal. “We now are going to have the scale, the portfolio of products and services, and the resources necessary to protect customers against a constantly evolving threat landscape.”

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Blue Coat’s adjusted net revenues grew 17% year-on-year to $755.4 million last year, while Symantec’s sales fell 9% in the 2016 fiscal year to $3.6 billion.

After the deal closes, Blue Coat CEO Greg Clark will become chief executive of Symantec and join the firm’s board. Michael Brown, Symantec’s former chief executive, stepped down in April after just 18 months in the post, amid falling sales.

Symantec’s expansion into more cybersecurity offerings would boost sagging sales, according to the WSJ. Sales of the company’s corporate-security products were down 2% in fiscal 2015, while revenue from the consumer business dropped 9%.

Shares of Symantec have declined 27% over the past year. In trading Monday, the stock was up 6.2% at18.38.

“The deal is Symantec’s largest acquisition since its 2005 purchase of Veritas Software, and the latest in a series of big steps it has taken as Symantec tries to turn around its fortunes in the increasingly competitive market for computer-security products,” the WSJ wrote.

Blue Coat had filed for an initial public offering earlier this year. According to its IPO filing, it is the top company by market share in the web security market, which it said could be worth more than $11 billion by 2019.

“If you look at what we’ve paid, it’s well within the range of what an IPO valuation would have been,” Symantec CEO Thomas Seifert said.