Symantec Rises on Report That It Plans to Sell Altiris Unit

Symantec Corp., the largest maker of antivirus programs, rose to a high not seen since September 2008 on a report that it plans to sell Altiris Inc., a software-management business acquired in 2007 for about $830 million.

Symantec advanced 4.7 percent to $20.85 at the close in New York after the Wall Street Journal reported that the business is for sale and drawing interest from private-equity firms.

Altiris makes programs that help companies track, install and maintain their software on desktops, laptops, servers and handheld devices. Steve Bennett, the former chief executive officer of Intuit Inc., began running Symantec in July and is trying to turn around a company that has failed to keep pace with shifting computer-security threats.

“Symantec is evaluating all of its options to create more return for its shareholders and will have more information to share at our strategy announcement next week,” Cris Paden, a spokesman the Mountain View, California-based company, wrote in an e-mail. He declined to comment on the report.

Symantec ousted former CEO Enrique Salem last year and indicated it was exploring options for divestitures. Salem had said he opposed breaking up the company.

Bennett has said he will update investors on his efforts when Symantec reports quarterly earnings Jan. 23.

Symantec has long been dogged by a divided structure, with its antivirus software business on one side and a large data-storage business on the other.

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