Security

Symantec Buys PC Tools

Symantec has announced it has signed an agreement to acquire Australian security vendor PC Tools.

The privately held PC Tools, which is headquartered in Sydney, has risen to global prominence since hitting the world stage in 2003 with its security and privacy products for Windows-based PCs.

Symantec has not disclosed the financial terms of the acquisition and says that the transaction is expected to be completed by the end of 2008 subject to closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

The companies have some crossover in terms of the products they bring to consumers, although PC Tools has gained its market share with free and competitively priced versions of its products, as well as award-winning performance. It's Spyware Doctor software has consistently performed well in PC World's tests.

According to Catriona Turner, Symantec's public relations spokesperson for Asia Pacific and Japan, the company's focus "has always been to help consumers manage their technology, from system utilities to security and online backup. PC Tools will broaden our portfolio in the utilities category, as well as with point security technologies."

Turner added: "While there are some areas of technology overlap, such as basic antivirus and firewall, PC Tools brings unique complementary technologies such as PC maintenance and utility capabilities. Also, PC Tools' automated response infrastructure leverages several of their security technologies, and will provide additional coverage of emerging threat types."

While Symantec already has a strong global presence, the company has cited the fact that PC Tools' products are available in more than 196 countries and in up to 27 languages as helping to expand Symantec's reach into emerging markets.

PC Tools' Malware Research Centre -- which monitors trends and emerging spyware issues -- will also prove a boon for Symantec should the acquisition go ahead. Turner revealed that part of the reason Symantec is acquiring PC Tools is because of the knowledge and experience possessed by the latter's employees. "Therefore, we are very interested in retaining PC Tools employees after the acquisition," she said.

According to Symantec, PC Tools will maintain separate operations within Symantec's consumer business unit, with Simon Clausen, PC Tools' chief executive officer, continuing to lead the team. He will report to Janice Chaffin, Symantec group president of consumer products. Symantec says it will essentially be business as usual for PC Tools, which will sell its full catalogue of products and support its loyal customer base.

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