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Symantec Can't Break Spending Habit

Updated from 3:32 p.m. EST

Symantec (SYMC) needs to slow down.

Addicted to acquisition-shopping, the security giant has been buying companies at a pace faster than it can integrate them.

Its $830 million acquisition of the systems management company Altiris (ATRS) comes a week after Symantec said it would cut costs to the tune of $200 million on an annualized basis to bring expenses in line with revenue.

Add to that Symantec's ongoing struggle to squeeze value and growth out of its purchase of Veritas, and it raises concerns about whether Symantec may again be biting off more than it can chew.

"One must wonder if it is not a better idea to fully integrate a business before acquiring a second one," says Michael Cuggino, president and portfolio manager of the Permanent Portfolio Fund, which holds shares of Symantec.

Shares of Symantec closed Monday off 25 cents, or 1.4%, to $17.52. Altiris rose 20% to $32.55.

Altiris makes IT management software that helps businesses manage different network based endpoint devices like laptops, desktops, servers, mobile devices, and storage assets. With Altiris' products, Symantec reckons its can help customers better manage and enforce security policies on different devices and protect those devices.

"The contribution that Altiris will be making is that an endpoint must be well-managed, otherwise it can't really be secure," says Steve Madigan, vice president of corporate development for Altiris.

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