Broadcom finally swings the axe at Symantec's local ranks

Broadcom finally swings the axe at Symantec's local ranks

Swathes of staff find themselves unemployed before Christmas

Credit: Dreamstime

Symantec staff in the local region have cleared their desks this week, following the company's US$10.7 billion acquisition by Broadcom.

ARN understands from sources that “huge numbers” of staff across Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong, at least, have marked their final day at the cyber security vendor just weeks before the Christmas holidays. 

The retrenchments come as part of a worldwide sweep of redundancies following the acquisition, with up to seven per cent of the global workforce axed.

According to sources with knowledge of the situation, much of the former Symantec contingent is no longer working within the company, and many channel-facing roles have either been axed or remain in the balance. 

ARN understands that the former Symantec ranks have been whittled down over the course of the past two months, with at least one round of employees who were made redundant finishing up with the company this week. 

It is also understood that the consolidation, along with the associated sweeping redundancies, is having a knock-on effect for Symantec’s partners in the local market, with some working to disentangle themselves from the vendor before the consolidation process runs its course.

Communication from Broadcom to Symantec partners and, indeed, even some distributors, is understood to have been minimal, with many left in the dark as to the full extent of the local layoffs.

Sophos A/NZ managing director John Donovan said the rival security vendor has been hiring former Symantec staff as well as targeting its partners and SMB, mid-market and commercial customers locally. 

“We will recognise the talent where it exists across the geography,” he said. “We’re also engaging with their customers and partners, and we’re looking at migrating them across and skilling them up with Sophos.”

Broadcom first announced its intent to acquire the enterprise security business of Symantec in August this year, with the deal concluding earlier this month.

It was subsequently revealed that Symantec intended to lay off seven per cent of its workforce in a US$100 million restructuring program, which included approximately US$75 million for severance payments. 

Symantec for years has served the full market spectrum in Australia, spanning large enterprise to mid-and-small business customers, working with distributors including Arrow ECS ANZ, Dicker Data, Ingram Micro and Weston-Comstor. 

However, Broadcom is now understood to be steering Symantec towards large enterprise customers, meaning partners servicing small-to-mid level customers will face greater uncertainty as to their future with the vendor’s new owners.

It also unknown what the broader implications will be for distributors and Symantec's Blue Coat systems division, which it acquired in 2017. 

This is not the first time Broadcom has let the full might of its axe fall during an acquisition process, including most recently CA Technologies in Australia.

Multiple sources at the time claimed “60 - 70 per cent” of staff locally had been made redundant, with product mainframe and a few channel personnel remaining.

Representatives of Symantec and Broadcom were unavailable for comment at the time of publication.

(Additional reporting by Julia Talevski and Leon Spencer)

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