Symantec plans to split into two companies

Symantec announced plans to split itself into two publicly traded companies as it explores new strategies to spur growth, sending shares higher in after-hours trading.

The Mountain View, California-based cyber security and storage provider said one firm will focus on cyber security and the other will concentrate on information management.

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It expects to complete the spinoff by December of next year.

A fountain operates outside the headquarters building of Symantec Corp. in Mountain View, California
Tony Avelar | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A fountain operates outside the headquarters building of Symantec Corp. in Mountain View, California

"Separating Symantec into two independent, publicly traded companies will provide each business the flexibility and focus to drive growth and enhance shareholder value," CEO Michael Brown said.

"Taking this decisive step will enable each business to maximize its potential. Both businesses will have substantial operational and financial scale to thrive."

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Symantec, which is most known for its Norton anti-virus service, abruptly fired its former CEO Steve Bennett in March amid stifling growth and slumping PC sales.

The biggest U.S. security software provider said its security business raked in about $4 billion in revenue during its fiscal year 2014, while its information management service generated about $2.5 billion during the same period.

The stock jumped as much as 3 percent in low trading volume after closing the regular session 2.4 percent lower at $23.44.

The move is the latest in a slew of corporate splits and acquisitions.

Last week, computing giant Hewlett-Packard said it would break itself into two companies, with one corporation focusing on enterprise information technology and the other on PC and printing.

Also, e-commerce giant eBay said it would spin off PayPal, the mobile payments unit it purchased 12 years ago for around $1 million, as competition in the sector heats up and new players like Apple look to gain market share in the space.