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Symantec to sell Veritas unit for US$8b

[NEW YORK] US computer security company Symantec said Tuesday it would sell its data management business Veritas to a group of investors for US$8 billion in cash.

Symantec, maker of the Norton antivirus program, said the deal was expected to close by January 1.

The buyers group is led by US global asset management firm The Carlyle Group and Singapore's GIC, one of the world's largest sovereign wealth funds.

"This transaction strengthens our financial foundation, paving the way for Symantec to grow its security business and increase its lead as the world's largest cybersecurity company," Michael Brown, Symantec president and chief executive, said in a statement.

Symantec announced in October 2014 that it wanted to split the company into two, independent companies, one to focus on security and the other on data management.

The all-cash sale of Veritas will provide resources for Symantec to continue investment in the rapidly growing market for security products and services, the Mountain View, California-based company said.

Following the close of the transaction, the board has authorized a US$1.5 billion increase in the current share repurchase program, bringing the total to US$2.6 billion.

Symantec expects to receive US$6.3 billion in net cash proceeds after the sale is completed. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval.

The Washington-based Carlyle Group announced that Bill Coleman and Bill Krause would become Veritas CEO and chairman, respectively.

"Veritas is a market innovator with global scale, an iconic brand, and significant growth potential, "Carlyle managing directors Patrick McCarter and Cam Dyer said in the statement.

They called Coleman a proven leader who will "leverage Veritas' new-found position as a private, stand-alone company to grow the firm and provide customers an integrated information management solution." Shares in Symantec were down almost 1.0 per cent at $22.72 in pre-market trade.