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Symantec taps banks to help combat glut of activist investors

Symantec has called in the banks to try to aid the company’s recovery and pull it away from a hostile group of activist shareholders.

Related: Symantec gets shot of CEO Steve Bennett

Reuters reports people familiar with the matter as stating the company has been talking to JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Morgan Stanley with the view to assisting the firm on strategy and how to defend against activist investors.

JPMorgan, which has helped the company battle similar investors in the past, is expected to get the gig as the financial adviser, according to the same people, but the specific mandate has yet to be agreed upon.

Activist funds have already started to examine the company as a potential target and if successful they will buy shares with the sole aim of affecting a change in management.

"We believe the recent price action of Symantec could attract the interest of activists who could nominate new board members, which could be supported by existing holders," RBC Capital Markets analyst Matthew Hedberg said in a research note on Thursday.

Symantec declined to comment on any minute details, adding that the company often used the services of financial advisers in order to assist the firm with every day business.

The antivirus specialists are still searching for a new CEO after the sacking of Steve Bennett last month, the former CEO spending less than two years with the firm and failing to affect enough of a recovery to please its investors.

Various analysts have suggested for some years that Symantec should look at selling off parts of the company from within the consumer, server and storage sectors as selling the entire company would be hard due to its size.

The firing of Bennett saw Michael Brown appointed as boss on a temporary basis and whilst Brown remains in charge the company looks a target for activist investors.