"This is an exciting day for everyone at Altiris. We're pleased to join a respected industry partner," he said, adding that the $830 million acquisition is built on his company's "tremendous synergies" in product lines and market strategy with the computer-security software giant.
Analysts watching the volatile high-technology sector agree, though they muse about the timing of the purchase. Just last week, Cupertino, Calif.-based Symantec announced plans to slash $200 million in operating costs. In light of that news, Monday's announcement raised more than a few eyebrows on Wall Street.
"From a strategic point of view, this is the right thing for them to do," said Fred Ziegel of Soleil-Mackinac Research. "But the timing maybe could be better."
Symantec's vice president of technology, Rob Clyde, said the two - his company's restructuring and the Altiris acquisition - had little to do with one another. "The timing of this is really a natural consequence of the deal," Clyde said.
"We feel [Altiris] is really hitting its inflection point in terms of success [and] that is far more important than a particular quarterly set of results," he added.
Ziegel said that timing aside, there was little question that the joining of Symantec's Norton Antivirus-based empire with Altiris' expertise in corporate computing network management and integration software is a good idea.
"There's been a lot of consolidation with security companies buying other security companies. Now, we're getting into a wave where network and systems management are coming together.
"Symantec needed to acquire something with meat on its bones."
It does so with Altiris, expected to hit $200 million in sales for its 2006 fiscal year, up from 2005's $188 million. The company recently forecast revenue of $57 million to $61 million for its soon-to-be-reported 2006 fourth quarter.
Steven Ashley, an analyst with Robert W. Baird & Co., agreed that the match was "a natural fit" and that "it makes perfect sense to put these two companies together."
He warned, though, that shareholders might question the valuation of the deal as perhaps too high.
His words might be prophetic. Symantec shares closed Monday at a lackluster $17.52 on the Nasdaq exchange, down 25 cents. But Altiris investors gave the acquisition a decided thumb's up, driving the company's stock up 20 percent, to a $32.55 close, up $5.41 per share.
That enthusiasm was shared by Altiris' Butterfield. He will be a group president reporting directly to Symantec chief John Thompson, and anticipates no changes in his management makeup or 1,000-strong work force.
"Our existing team will remain in place," Butterfield said. "Symantec recognizes the success we've had, [and] they do not want to screw that up."
That view got a grudging endorsement from one of Altiris' prime competitors, South Jordan's LANDesk.
"We're actually excited about this news because it validates our own strategy" of seeking the union of companies offering computer "security and configuration management," said General Manager Steve Daly.
LANDesk was acquired last year by Avocent for $400 million, and Daly sees new opportunities for his company to strike hard with its own integrated offerings - before Symantec can weave Altiris products and services into its operational mix.
* BASED: In Cupertino, Calif.
* EMPLOYS: 16,000, with 200 in Orem.
* UTAH HISTORY: In 2003, it also acquired for an undisclosed amount the Orem software company PowerQuest.
* BASED: In Lindon.
* EMPLOYS: 1,000, with 425 in Utah.
* ITS FUTURE: Deal is expected to close in about two months. No management or work force changes or reductions are expected.