Shares of FireEye (FEYE) are in focus amid rumors rival Symantec (SYMC) and Cisco (CSCO) are watching the company closely during its turnaround.
TECH FIRMS WATCH TURNAROUND: The progress of FireEye CEO Kevin Mandia in turning around the company is likely being watched by rival security firms like Symantec as well as big tech companies like Cisco, The Information reported Thursday. FireEye saw increased losses in 2014 due to slowing sales growth and elevated spending and Mandia was hired in 2016 to take the helm of the company. He immediately began efforts to cut costs and update the company’s product portfolio, which has reduced losses, however, the stock has remained depressed. The CEO said he thinks the company’s problems result from a lack of clear identity and he aims for FireEye to be defined by knowing more about hackers than anybody and meeting those threats with innovative products. Big companies like Cisco and Symantec have looked at the company as a takeover target, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter. “Whether you build to sell a company or build to last forever, you should do the same things,” Mandia said in an interview. “If anyone bought us, I’m still along for the ride and we have to operationally manage what we’ve got.”
WHAT’S NOTABLE: In 2016, FireEye reportedly rejected several takeover offers. Symantec held talks to acquire the company but ended negotiations in February without a deal due to disagreements over price, Reuters reported in 2016. Symantec’s LifeLock reportedly was planning to offer $16 per share for FireEye. In addition, the company’s talks with another buyer stalled in March as the bid was below its expectations, Bloomberg reported in June 2016. FireEye, which hired Morgan Stanley to explore a sale, was seeking offers of $30 per share or more. Following the talks, the company said it was no longer actively looking to sell itself.
MANDIA SPEAKS WITH CRAMER: In an interview with CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Thursday, Mandia said regardless of any takeover rumors, the company “just has to execute.” “We’re just heads down executing. I truly believe that’s a CEO’s number one job. Control your own destiny, execute to it,” he said. “We had major products that were starting to decelerate in growth and we knew we had to have next-gen stuff to kind of come in and cover the gap for us.” Mandia also pointed out there are no rules or repercussions to hacking when in countries like China, Russia, North Korea and Iran. “We don’t have rules of engagement. Not every nation is establishing the same rules, everybody is kind of figuring it out, ‘How are we supposed to act in cyberspace?'” he said. “The reality is this: if all Russia’s cyberweapons win against us and all of our cyberweapons win against Russia, they win because we’re the ones that rely on the internet.” In addition, Mandia commented on bitcoin (BTC) saying, “You can have end-user machines compromised and then have bitcoin mined, or monero mined. What I have found from our vantage point in cybersecurity is it’s faster and easier to make money stealing the digital currency and using it than it is in fact real currency at this point…The anonymity of the currencies creates a challenge in cybersecurity because it used to be if I hacked your machine I could monetize it if I get a credit card number. Now I can just extort you anonymously from 10,000 miles away.”