EU clears Symantec takeover of Veritas

The European Union’s (E.U.’s) merger watchdog, the European Commission, has cleared security software company Symantec Corp.’s US$13.5 billion takeover of data storage company Veritas Software Corp., it said Wednesday.

The Commission said in a statement that the deal would not “significantly impede competition” in the E.U. plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. In fact, it said, the merger between the two firms would be “complementary” as security software and data storage software “largely function independently of each other.” However, the company is still waiting for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC’s) review before putting the merger to a shareholder vote, according to Genevieve Haldeman, a Symantec spokeswoman.

In its investigation the Commission found that there were very few overlaps between the two companies in terms of the products and services they offered. At the same time the merged firm would continue to face strong competitors with significant market shares.

The Commission also looked at whether the merger could have other negative effects such as bundling (where a firm combines one product with another popular product to give an unfair advantage in the market place to the “bundled” product). It examined whether there could be implications for interoperability between storage and security software.

But the Commission ruled out the chances of such concerns happening because there were other suppliers competing in the same market.

In the U.S., regulators allowed a mandatory 30-day waiting period to review the merger expire January 27, according to a Symantec statement. The company is now waiting for an SEC review of a Form S-4 registration for the new company, which was submitted on February 11. Once the SEC reviews and comments on that form, Symantec will set a date for a final shareholder vote on the deal, Haldeman said.

Cupertino, California-based Symantec makes security software, including the famous Norton antivirus package. Mountain View, California-based Veritas makes backup, archiving and file system software.