Symantec explores selling web certificates business: Reuters

(Reuters) — Cybersecurity firm Symantec Corp is considering selling its website certification business, in a deal that could fetch more than $1 billion and extricate it from a feud with Alphabet Inc’s Google, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Google said in March that it was investigating Symantec’s failure to properly validate its certificates, which confirm that websites can be trusted. Symantec has called Google’s claims “exaggerated and misleading.”

Symantec is in talks with a small number of companies and private equity firms about the potential sale, three sources said, asking not to be identified because the matter is confidential. There is no certainty that a deal will occur, the sources added.

Symantec declined to comment. A representative for Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Symantec acquired most of its web certification business in 2010, when it paid $1.28 billion to buy Verisign Inc’s security business. The unit has about $400 million in revenue, according to one of the sources.

Chief Executive Greg Clark has been transforming Mountain View, California-based Symantec by jettisoning slow-growth units and spending billions of dollars on acquisitions. It has been moving away from services that are more commoditized, selling its data storage business Veritas in January 2016 to private equity firm Carlyle Group LP for $7.4 billion.

Symantec completed its $2.3 billion acquisition of LifeLock Inc in February, a move that will bolster its consumer security business. That followed the purchase of Blue Coat Inc for $4.65 billion in August 2016, which expanded its product line for large corporations.