13F filing release indicates that hedge fund "Guru" Dan Loeb has liquidated the entire Symantec position. Third Point began accumulating shares following the announcement of a change in CEO back in July.
This is yet another major indicator of what likely lies ahead. The shares are way too pricey and face a lot obstacles before growth catches up to justify the current share price. The smart money always knows before everybody else, and with Third Point liquidating their entire position this is something investors would be wise to pay attention to.
Short data will be updated soon as well. Latest indicators show short interest has ramped up to twice that of recent historic levels, even when compared to the period when Symantec was stumbling under Enrique Salem's final days.
The currency situation is going to create serious issues for Symantec's projections for the foreseeable future. Along with other heavily-exposed global software companies. The dollar is strengthening across many areas of the globe, the Yen is weakening further (and the G7 is okay with this, no plans to influence otherwise). Furthermore, other governments are now stepping in (or stepping up) their own QE monetary policies, which is only going to further strengthen the dollar on a relative basis. And this paradigm is going to persist (or worsen) until finally at some point the dollar and economy truly starts to strengthen in the US.
Bottom line is we just experienced what a PC slowdown and weak Yen has done to Symantec's business, now the situation is only going to worsen globally.
There's a huge number of shorts coming in over the last month, and accelerating. Go take a look at the volume on that relative to history.
Even the company knows the shares are way overpriced, the CEO comp ladder was topped out at $22 per share for year 2015. And an even more telling sign is the company buy back. The CEO said they would do targeted, opportunistic buy-backs. This can, and probably does, mean to try and manipulate the shares when they know outlook is weak - such as now. But more telling is the average price - they paid an average price in the 17's !!! If they thought the shares were ANY kind of value they would have bought back a lot more than they did.
Well, watching the last few days of trading as millions of share trade at $24 plus, obviously quite a few
I am apparently becoming the entertainment on this forum, but slowly more and more people such as yourselves are starting to see what I've been saying for the better part of almost six months now. Symantec 4.0 is just another shell game. With a few obvious decisions that should have been made long ago like a small dividend. Otherwise, exact same pig just with different lipstick. Much of the same is going to continue as happened in the past. There is just simply too much cancer inside Symantec at this point. Steve Bennett, for any of his good intentions, simply does not yet see or understand the full impacts of what he has actually inherited. Many of the bloated screw-ups in management have been hammering their employees and pulling out all the stops & deals to make numbers. This is unsustainable and frankly I'm surprised they made it another quarter. In fact, they probably did NOT make it, which is why they deferred the planned layoff wave into the current quarter so the two final waves happen closer together or simultaneously.
Make no mistake, the shares are way ahead of the themselves, the company now has huge risk and disruption ahead, and when reality catches up with the shares there is going to be a sizable adjustment.
It is just unfortunate that not all of the VP, Senior VP, and above levels people that deserve to be gone were removed, but unfortunately when certain people know where one or more of the bodies are buried and what skeletons are in what closets, it becomes extremely difficult to give them what they deserve.
How much fat, bloated, useless, incompetent dead weight and excess does $220,000,000 to $250,000,000 in severance charges pay for to get rid off? And does this amount only cover the impending "rumored" reorg cuts for the director levels, manager levels, and individual contributors that are "rumored" to be getting purged "by July" "allegedly"? Or does this amount include the previous rounds of cuts as part of this reorg, i.e. does it include the VP, senior VP, and higher levels that were already reorged and culled?
James Beer – EVP and CFO: "In fiscal ’14 as we discussed back in January we’ll have some pretty sizeable severance charges of the order of $220 million to $250 million on severance coming up and so I would expect cash flow to be down year-over-year in fiscal ’14 as a result."
Taken from the Headlines on the symc page.
Been reading the transcript from yesterday. Here's some whoppers....
- No growth projected for FY2014 (0%-2%)
- Consumer antivirus/security business expected to be FLAT on revenue for the next several years.
- Comment from the CEO: "But in fiscal year '14, there's a bit more uncertainty than normal in our plan than there was in fiscal year '13. We are factoring this into our guidance as best we can." Can you say high RISK?
- Comment from the CFO: " During the fiscal year, we spent $826 million to repurchase 49 million shares at an average share price of $16.98, reducing our common stock outstanding count by 7% or a net 3.7% after adjusting for stock compensation." So they are basically SPENDING half of the buyback on themselves - the insiders and Board in form of compensation!
- CFO again: "In fiscal '14 we'll have some pretty sizable severance charges of the order $220 million to $250 million on severance coming up. And so I would expect cash flow to be down year-over-year in fiscal '14 as a result."
- The CEO confirmed there are indeed TWO waves of reductions remaining by July, which means in fact one of the waves planned for end of April or beginning of May was delayed. This is a potentially worrisome indicator.
Bottom line, this sounds like the same broken record. Some positive, obvious steps forward, but largely the same broken record. More promises of turnaround, more cost-cutting only to end up as buy backs going back into the pockets of the insiders, and continued market share erosion in some key areas. How is this much different than what the last many years, other than the shares have now been hyped to a slightly higher level? Answer: It isn't! It's the same thing with a few new twists that is going to either end up the same mess or take a LONG time getting the promises to match the current share price.
Once again, promise of change and then more of the same, look at these statements from today's articles:
"Symantec CEO Steve Bennett said on the company's earnings conference call that fourth quarter and fiscal year results were better than expected, but that little organizationally changed during those periods."
"FY '14 will be different. Many critical things will be changing," Bennett said on the call.
So the easy EPS manipulation and hype (low hanging fruit) has now been more than baked into the shares, and the real "change" and challenge still lies ahead. That much is becoming very apparent. Basically, still the same company promising change and a turnaround for the better. We'll all have to wait and see if that ever happens, in the mean time, investors need to wake up to the currently over valued share price. There is nothing by any standard that justifies the current P/E for a no-growth company achieving EPS largely via buy-backs, cost cutting and divesting.
After a long absence, former SYMC employee long_term_tech pops up after a dip in prices (yet it is making a comeback) and spews more misleading nonsense. See you at 28, soon.
Sentiment: Strong Buy
What you say has truth to it, however realize the shares are over priced and the main reason the EPS is even where it is today is primarily due to buy-backs and cost-cutting. Both of which are false foundations, so to speak. When (if) the cost-cutting plans actually transpire, they are a one-time deal, and are already priced in. And the buy-back plan has been reduced by about 40% to compensate for the new dividend program. So then, where does the company go next to achieve EPS?? There is anemic growth and countless obstacles ahead, not the least of which is all the internal turmoil in the turnaround effort. We've heard this story for almost a decade now.
The shares may rebound some day, but I suspect they will see the $18-$22 range well before they see anything remotely approaching $30 (if ever).
Hilarious manipulation today by MKM by the way. Raising price target and then a Barron's article? So entirely ridiculous it is laughable.
The shares are a good short over the next six months, better chance of downside than upside all things considered, including the overall market levels.
No reason it should have a double digit multiple anymore.Its now in the disappointer class and on its way to the universal single digit multiple that all of the disappointer stocks get.
SYMC really just needs to slash the incredibly bloated middle and lower management structures, which if the rumors are true, will be happening mid to late next month. How many incapable director, senior director, supervisor, manager, and senior manager level people per regular employee does a company need? SYMC still has three times as many as it needs at each of those levels, in just about every team, group, and organization, in my opinion.
If and when the great purge of this morbidly obese, disease ridden group happens, it will be an enormous boost for the company, since this dead and diseased weight is not merely a drain of resources from a salary and benefits etc. perspective - they cost much more than that to a company. They can be and are often a severely negative effect on a company due to their ineptitude, negligence, selfish and self helping priorities. They have collectively poisoned the company for far too long. The payouts, severance, etc. just to send them on their way, is well worth it in the long run to the health of the company just to be rid of them. Just give them their parting gifts along with the number to some suicide prevention hotline and get the streamlined quality people remaining firing on all cylinders.
The run-up since January has been largely an orchestrated, hype-fueled rally driven by insiders, hedge funds and a few large institutional holders with sell-side analysts.
Now the hard part for Symantec begins. The company has to actually maintain execution while it begins the internally-disruptive turnaround effort, with hopes to eventually achieve enough growth to offset market share erosion.
The company has a long, difficult road ahead with risk and uncertainty as to outcome. Current or prospective investors should do some serious homework going back at least a few years. And ignore the false pumping and hyping trying to prop up the shares and lure in investors. The share price is absolutely over-valued, the P/E is clearly too high relative to growth prospects, with buy-backs attributing.
Very true comments master. While the results were borderline okay, the business is just simply anemic with hardly any growth. The turnaround story is just now entering the beginning of the "show me" phase expected to take over a year. The CEO said 2014 will be the core of the effort to try and turn things around, and 2015 will be the start of results. We've heard this story for how many years and how many CEO's now? I think believing it can be done this quickly would be irresponsibly optimistic.
I found the following online, it portrays a continued no-growth story: "During the fourth quarter, revenue from Symantec's Security and Compliance business increased 2% year over year, Storage and Server Management sales grew 7% year over year, while Consumer grew 1%." Had it not been for Storage, the results would have been much worse. Scary part is, anybody who has been following this company knows that Storage spending is cyclical. Usually year-end budget flush in Q4 and new-budget allocation in Q1. Which is now behind us. So looking forward, things do not look well in terms of supporting the current share valuation.
And lastly, there's the old "currency headwinds" excuse AGAIN. News flash, this isn't going to get any better as other global areas are going to start to contribute to this in addition to the Yen given the global monetary policy-wars. Charges in the quarter also seemed to come into play, which might be one explanation for the rumors of delayed cost-reduction plans on the head-count side. It is possible they are trying to defer into the third calendar quarter given to try and lessen the blow in the current quarter.
The real problem here is the end point AV business is no longer growing and decline is going to accelerate. PC sales decline going to put continued pressure. Shocking that they found some growth in storage. AV business is no longer growth story, ability to tack on more features to increase price is waning nobody wants to pay $35+; nobody really wants the additional features. This becomes a pure renewal business story and all they can do is cut expenses and that only lasts for so long. Trades like a bond. Belongs at $16 to $17. Look to PANW, FireEye, FIRE and CHKP Much more interesting companies. and the future of security in the new world order.
Digging deeper into the numbers and things aren't looking so good. Results are okay but still reflecting the same weakness of the past history. With security not fairing as well as hoped, still being pulled along by backup solutions. Overall, the P/E and PEG are now all higher than comparable large cap software stocks who actually have higher proven growth rates no less. Such as Oracle or Microsoft and other similar names. I hate to say this, but LongTerm appears to be right for once in that the shares appear overvalued and headed lower. Right now I'm seeing mid 23's after hours.
On another note, I did some digging and found transcripts and articles that referred to "waves" of cost-reduction, of which the latest "scheduled" one apparently did not transpire. And this follows with some other comments from posters who seem to work at Symantec. It appears the reduction plan has been postponed or deferred. If anybody has any further insight into this please share.....
Dividend initiation and beats estimates and in the most critical niche within technology: security
Sentiment: Strong Buy