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Broadcom Nears Deal to Buy Symantec Enterprise Unit

Liana Baker and Ian King

(Bloomberg) -- Broadcom Inc. is nearing an agreement to buy the division of Symantec Corp. that serves large corporate customers for roughly $10 billion in cash after talks for a full acquisition of the cybersecurity company failed, according to people familiar with the matter.

A deal for Symantec’s enterprise unit would come less than a month after the companies’ discussions for a full merger fell apart over disagreements about the price. Such a transaction would reshape Symantec to focus on its consumer-facing products, such as the LifeLock identity-protection brand and Norton anti-virus software.

If talks to buy the unit are successful, a deal could be announced as soon as Thursday, the people said, asking not to be named because the matter is private. No decision is final and negotiations may still fall apart.

Representatives for Broadcom and Symantec couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. The new talks were reported earlier Wednesday by the Wall Street Journal. Symantec shares surged 14% in extended trading on the news.

The divestiture would be the latest shakeup at Symantec, which has faced major challenges in the past year, including the abrupt departure of its chief executive officer, an activist investor and a financial investigation that ended with restated earnings. Activist investor Starboard Value LP won three seats on Symantec’s board in September, including one for the firm’s managing member, Peter Feld.

San Jose, California-based Broadcom had been on the hunt to buy software assets, following its $18 billion takeover last year of CA Technologies. That transaction spurred some investors to express concern that Broadcom Chief Executive Officer Hock Tan was stretching his acquisition strategy too far, after playing a key role in consolidating the $470 billion chip industry.

To contact the reporters on this story: Liana Baker in New York at lbaker75@bloomberg.net;Ian King in San Francisco at ianking@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net, ;Daniel Hauck at dhauck1@bloomberg.net, Andrew Pollack

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