Symantec Plans to Cut Jobs, Pay Dividend, Repurchase Shares

Symantec Corp., the world’s largest maker of antivirus software, announced plans to cut jobs, pay its first dividend and buy back stock as part of Chief Executive Officer Steve Bennett’s plans to streamline the business and return cash to shareholders.

To become more flexible and more quickly meet customer needs, Symantec will pare its ranks of executives and middle managers, “resulting in a reduction of the workforce,” the Mountain View, California-based company said today in a statement. Symantec didn’t specify the number of jobs to be eliminated.

As part of a plan to return about 50 percent of free cash flow to shareholders, Symantec initiated a quarterly dividend, expected to begin in the June period and targeting a yield of 2.5 percent based on yesterday’s closing price of $20.86. The board also authorized a stock buyback of $1 billion, to begin in the fiscal year starting in March. The new repurchase adds to the $283 million left in the current buyback plan, the company said.

Symantec earlier today reported fiscal third-quarter revenue and profit that topped estimates, helped by strong demand for data-management tools. The company’s shares have risen 43 percent since Bennett’s appointment as CEO in July, following the ouster of Enrique Salem.

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