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Symantec eyes breakup into security, storage companies

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Is Symantec going to build on the new fad for corporate splits? Photograph by Michele Tantussi — Bloomberg via Getty Images

Security software group Symantec–known principally for its Norton antivirus software–may become the latest company to split itself up, according to a report by Bloomberg.

Management at the Mountain View, Ca.-based company is looking at the possibility of carving two companies out of the current one, effectively reversing the course of diversification it took when it bought data-storage group Veritas in 2005 for $10 billion.

As such, one of the successor companies would concentrate on security programs and the other on data storage.

If the divorce goes through, Symantec (SYMC) would follow Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) and Ebay Inc. (EBAY) in trying to rediscover value for shareholders by concentrating on a more focused range of activities.

Symantec had fired its previous chief executive, Steve Bennett, in March in response to slowing sales growth, a symptom of the company’s struggle with new trends in the security software market, especially through the slowdown in demand for PCs. Bloomberg said the newly-installed CEO, Michael Bell, is in favor of a split.

Symantec didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment early Wednesday in Europe.

Symantec’s chairman is Dan Schulman, who is also president of PayPal, the payments service that Ebay decided last week to spin off.