Shareholders approve Symantec and Veritas marriage

No dogs or poets harmed


Symantec and Veritas shareholders today gave the go ahead for the merger of the two software companies.

At a special meeting, Symantec revealed that 95 per cent of the votes cast were in favor of its purchase of Veritas - an all-stock deal originally tagged at $13.5bn. Veritas watched as 98 per cent of the votes cast by its shareholders approved the acquisition. The purchase should close on July 2 and create a security/storage software giant that touches consumers and business customers alike.

There were a few grumbles from large shareholders and analysts leading up to the vote. The pundits questioned whether slower-growing Veritas, which specializes in data backup and storage management, would weigh down a revitalized Symantec, which owns a large chunk of the security software market. The companies have argued that their businesses fit well together, creating a total data protection package. Investors seem to have bought this message.

In total, close to 506m Symantec shares went in favor of the deal with 28m shares against and 6m shares not voting.

"The new Symantec will help customers balance the need to both secure their information and make it available, thus ensuring its integrity," John Thompson, CEO of Symantec who will also run the combined company. "We believe that information integrity provides the most cost-effective, responsive way to keep businesses up, running and growing in the face of system failures, internet threats or natural disasters."

Veritec would appear to be gearing up for a long, protracted battle with Microsoft. Redmond has made it quite clear that it plans to attack the anti-virus and storage markets with force. Of course, it probably won't organize the troops fully or release code until 2010, so Symantec and Veritas have some time.

All in all, it was nice to see an IT mega-merger close without any dogs or poets being threatened. Maybe Larry and Carly learned a couple lessons. ®

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