Many in the U.S. may not be familiar with the aggressive executive Hock Tan, but in 2017, he was the highest paid CEO in the country reeling in $103.2 million in that year alone. He became the CEO of Broadcom by acquiring it in 2016 via his company Avago Technologies, for $37 billion ($17 billion in cash and $20 billion in equity). Emboldened, Tan assumed the Broadcom name and began the acquisition spree of an obsessed empire builder.
He acquired Brocade Communication Systems for $5.5 billion, then set his sights on Qualcomm making a $117 billion bid. The Qualcomm deal, however, was shut down by the Trump administration stating concerns that an American company would cede the nation’s primacy in the semiconductor and wireless industry, given Broadcom’s then headquarters in Singapore. Quickly licking his wounds, Tan moved to acquire CA Technologies for nearly $19 billion, intent on buying software that powers back-end operations for businesses.
Now Tan is on to his next software acquisition and this time it’s in the security space. It has become known that Tan is interested in acquiring Symantec which many industry analysts place a value of $15 billion on. Like Broadcom, Symantec has a long history of acquisitions. Favoring businesses with solid cash flow profiles, Tan would likely retain and further invest behind those Symantec operations with a steady revenue base and sell off or restructure those, which are minor in stature or still unproven.
The Symantec name has become ubiquitous with security. It has been around for decades, first founded in 1982 in Silicon Valley, it built its own solutions then moved on to making acquisitions. It acquired Veritas software in 2005 for $13.5 billion ad more recently acquired LifeLock in 2016 for $2.3 billion. Symantec eventually sold Veritas assets to an investor group led by Carlyle for $7.4 billion. It’s most recent acquisition was that of Blue Coat for $4.7 billion, which was announced in June of 2016.
While speculation continues to swirl on whether the deal will take place, one thing is for certain – Hock Tan is on a quest to build an empire and will continue, undeterred, to pursue larger and larger acquisitions.