Symantec CEO: Partners Can 'Definitely Expect' Security Acquisitions After Veritas Sale

Symantec is on a path toward reinventing itself, and CEO Michael Brown says a big part of that strategy is making key acquisitions after the split from Veritas is complete.

"You can definitely expect acquisitions from us," Brown told CRN in an exclusive interview.

The Veritas sale, which is expected to close Jan. 1, 2016, will put just more than $6 billion of cash in the company coffers. Brown said he isn't sure how much of that will be put directly into acquisitions, though he did say it provides Symantec a lot of "flexibility" and the ability to "look a little bit broader" for picking up the right assets.

"I will be quick to say that that will be money that won't be burning a hole in our pockets," Brown said. "We're going to be very judicious as we look at these acquisitions to make sure they tightly fit with our strategy and that we have a good plan to integrate them."

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Partners cheered the acquisition strategy, saying they are looking forward to what moves the company will make in the market.

"We hope that with a couple billion dollars in their bank account that they will be buying companies," said one executive from a Symantec Platinum partner, who did not want to be named.

Brown said there are three main areas that Symantec will be looking to bolster through both organic and acquisition growth in the coming year. First, he said Symantec would be looking to grow its threat protection business, including endpoint, mail, gateway, data center and server security. That portion of the business accounts for the largest portion of enterprise security revenue for Symantec, and that will continue, he said.

Second, Brown said Symantec will look to acquire and grow in the product area of information protection, an area he called the "next frontier" of security. That business is one of the fastest-growing areas for Symantec right now, Brown said, with the company's DLP business growing 30 percent year over year in the March quarter.

Finally, Brown said Symantec will be organically growing and making acquisitions in its cybersecurity services business. The company already has recently expanded in that area, adding incident response and managed adversary threat intelligence.

"This combination of threat protection, information protection and cybersecurity services are the areas we intend to build as part of the Symantec enterprise security strategy and then it's also the area where we will see acquisitions being focused. We're not looking outside those areas," Brown said.

The acquisitions will all be focused around complementary technologies with established go-to-market routes and channel programs, Brown said. He said Symantec will not be buying for the sake of bolstering revenue.

Symantec also will be heavily focused on R&D, Brown said, and is planning to invest "more than ever before" in the area, north of $1 billion. That investment will materialize in the launch of six to 12 organically developed new products between now and the end of March, he said.