Symantec to Acquire Axent in $975 Million Deal

FRAMINGHAM (07/27/2000) - In a merger that will have a strong impact in the security arena, Symantec Corp. Thursday announced its intent to purchase Axent Technologies Inc. in a stock-swap-based transaction valued at US$975 million.

The merger between Cupertino, Calif.-based Symantec and Rockville, Md.-based Axent combines two security vendors with strengths in different areas to create a company with a combined revenue of about $1 billion. Symantec focuses on antivirus and content-filtering software, while Axent's core offerings include firewall, VPN, vulnerability assessment and intrusion-detection products.

There is little overlap in the two product lines, although Symantec recently began shipping a desktop firewall for the consumer market. Until a couple of years ago, Symantec's Norton antivirus products were targeted toward the consumer market. But since then the company has continually added more sophisticated management tools to make its antivirus software more attractive to the enterprise market.

Conversely, Axent is an established security vendor that's obscure to the general public but well-known internationally among businesses, especially banking, with critical security requirements.

The two companies said they hope to gain strength through the marketing of combined services and products. While both companies face numerous competitors in their respective markets, one larger common rival is Network Associates, which competes in the antivirus, VPN, vulnerability assessment and intrusion-detection arenas.

The merger, expected to be completed by year-end, is contingent upon federal regulatory approval and the blessing of both companies' shareholders.

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