Shares of data security specialist Symantec (GEN 1.60%) gained 21.8% in November of 2018, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The company posted solid second-quarter results at the very start of the month, but that wasn't the main engine behind Symantec's jump. Private equity firm Thoma Bravo was reportedly thinking about a leveraged buyout last month.
The earnings report included positive surprises on both the top and bottom lines, sending Symantec shares 8% higher in a single day. Later that week, the Thoma Bravo rumor triggered an 18% single-day spike in the Norton Antivirus marker's stock price. According to Reuters, analyst firm Wedbush Securities estimated a buyout price of at least $26 per share, far above the $20 price the stock commanded at the time.
In a Bloomberg interview on the day the rumor mill started to grind, Symantec CEO Greg Clark was quick to shrug off the Thoma Bravo rumor.
"We take a long view at Symantec," Clark said. "We are here for the long haul and we invest in our technology and our employees and our customers and sometimes we get some headlines, rumors, and speculation, and our policy is not to comment."
No further detail has emerged regarding Thoma Bravo's supposed interest, but Symantec's shares have stayed aloft as if the company had a real merger deal coming. If there's a wave of consolidation coming to the computer security sector, Symantec might be first in line among potential buyout targets -- but that's a lot of "ifs" and "mights." It's probably best to wait for some actual merger action in this market before jumping to any ultra-bullish conclusions, here.