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EXCLUSIVE-Symantec to hire bank for advice, activism defense -sources

NEW YORK, April 4 (Reuters) - Antivirus and security software maker Symantec Corp, which recently fired its chief executive amid declining sales and fierce competition, is in the process of hiring banks to help advise on strategy and defend against possible activist investors, according to several people familiar with the matter.

The $14 billion company, known for its Norton antivirus software, has been interviewing top Wall Street banks in recent weeks including JPMorgan Chase & Co, Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Morgan Stanley, the people said on Friday.

JPMorgan, which helped Symantec in the past when the company was the target of potential activism, is expected to land a role as Symantec's financial adviser, although a mandate has yet to be finalized, the people said, asking not to be named because the discussions are not public.

A representative for Symantec declined to comment on specifics but said Symantec commonly hired financial advisors to help the company with the business. JPMorgan could not be immediately reached for comment. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley declined to comment.

(Reporting By Nicola Leske, Nadia Damouni and Soyoung Kim in New York; Editing by Nick Zieminski)