Symantec, Veritas Merger OK'd by Shareholders

Shareholders voted Friday to approve security software maker Symantec Corp.'s (SYMC) takeover of Veritas Software Corp. (VRTS), paving the way for potentially the largest merger ever in the software industry.

The stock deal, announced in December, was initially valued at $13.5 billion, but is now expected to be worth about $11 billion. In a regulatory filing earlier this month, Symantec said it expected the merger to close on July 2.

Analysts expected stock holders to approve the deal, despite a recommendation against it from an influential proxy advisory firm that called the move ill conceived.

One of the concerns was that Veritas' business, making storage software, is unrelated to Symantec's strength of providing programs that secure personal computers. Symantec's expansion is seen as a way to buffer itself from Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) move into the security business.

On June 10, Glass, Lewis & Co. concluded many of the anxieties about the takeover were justified. But then the proposed takeover received a boost late when another major advisory firm, Institutional Shareholder Services, came out in favor of the merger.

On Friday, however, Symantec shareholders voted overwhelmingly in favor of the deal during a brief meeting that was broadcast over the Internet. A few minutes later, a majority of Veritas shareholders approved the deal in a separate meeting.

Shares of Symantec lost 35 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $21.38, on the Nasdaq Stock Market Friday. Veritas shares lost 26 cents, to $24.01, in trading on the same exchange.

Despite the shrinking value of the takeover merger, it's still expected to eclipse Oracle's $10.6 billion acquisition of PeopleSoft. Oracle took control of PeopleSoft in late December.