Why Broadcom Should Be Thankful That It’s Not Buying Symantec

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Some mergers are never formally consummated and never formally ended, as far as a lack of corporate communications is concerned. The would-be acquisition of Symantec Corp. (NASDAQ: SYMC) by Broadcom Inc. (NASDAQ: AVGO) was one of those deals that was not formally on the table, and it remains to be seen whether a press release gets issued by the companies.

While multiple media and analyst reports had discussed an acquisition of Symantec, Broadcom’s hopes of acquiring the company appear to be dashed. CNBC has reported that these two technology companies have ceased merger negotiations. Symantec would not accept a buyout of less than $28 per share, according to CNBC.

While Symantec is a company that might be attractive to some buyers, Broadcom is still effectively integrating its acquisition of CA Technologies made for almost $19 billion. That CA acquisition, one of the largest acquisitions of 2018, already was questioned by some investors, and the idea that Broadcom would be able to find new growth when Symantec’s organic growth has petered out was somewhat confusing.

As for the price of the deal, it would have valued Symantec at just over $17 billion. A report from Jefferies in the prior week valued Symantec at about $24 per share. At roughly the same time, Wedbush Securities said that it believed that $26 to $28 per share would be the sweet spot range wherein a deal likely would have been consummated.

Broadcom may be lucky if this deal is really off the table. By making a diversification acquisition of CA already, the company’s organic growth looks like it may have peaked. After all, we are talking about the company that is already the merger of Broadcom and Avago. It also was among the companies laying off the most workers in 2018.

History has not been so kind to acquisitions of data security and cybersecurity players. Just ask Intel about how great the integration went with McAfee, considering they resold it and there have been reports that McAfee will again come public with a valuation of close to or above $5 billion. Intel made that acquisition of McAfee at a value of what was called $7.68 billion, and the deal closed in early 2011.

Symantec also pursued a major growth effort change more than a decade ago with its acquisition of storage player Veritas for $13.5 billion in 2005. Symantec then sold off Veritas to the Carlyle Group for $7.4 billion, a sale that was completed in early 2016.

Some of these diversification moves can be good, and some come with far fewer obvious benefits.

Symantec shares were last seen trading down 13% at $22.25, while Broadcom shares were trading up over 2% at $291.50.

Unfortunately, wondering what company or what revenue stream Broadcom will target next just became much more complicated.


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