NEW YORK — While Oracle is mass-mailing pink slips to PeopleSoft employees, Veritas Software Corp. CEO Gary Bloom stressed that the merger with Symantec is about “”opportunities and not layoffs.””

In a question-and-answer period for media following Veritas’s launch of its next version of Backup

Exec software, Bloom said the merger, expected to close in the second calendar quarter of 2005, is an opportunity to take two companies and do something bigger and better.

“”(The merger) is centred around the integration of employees, and is not about cuts,”” said Bloom, who made a stop in New York before heading out to Veritas’s annual North America sales conference in Atlanta. “”It’s a little harder message to deliver in the shadow of the Oracle-PeopleSoft merger.””

In a flurry of software mergers last month, Symantec announced it would acquire storage software vendor Veritas for US$13.5 billion, making it the largest transaction in software history.

“”The software industry has not seen a transaction of this size,”” said Bloom, adding that mergers usually involve a big company buying a smaller one or a successful company buying a broken one.

As for his future role at the combined company, which will retain the name Symantec, Bloom said he will be vice-chairman of the board at Symantec, where his responsibilities will include customer-facing strategies and strategic alliances.

In terms of Veritas as a brand, the company said it will exist under the Symantec name such as Symantec Norton Anti-Virus, for example.

Fred Dimson, general manager and director of operations for Veritas Software Canada Inc., who couldn’t attend the event because of the Atlanta sales conference, said Veritas will be discussing the direction of the two companies.

Asked in a telephone interview about the merger, Dimson said: “”Both companies are leaders and are synergistic. Both companies are channel-centric and use the same distributors. The merger makes a huge company.””

Dimson said he doesn’t know what his new role will be under the combined company.

The two companies also announced that they have set an integration team in place, which will be led by Veritas chief financial officer Ed Gillis. Gillis is responsible for establishing the integration management office and forming joint teams to begin the integration process.

The joint teams will be focused on planning for the sales, services and business development structure; outlining the lines of business and developing the technology road map; detailing the combined company’s go-to-market plans; integrating the services and support organizations; and combining the finance, infrastructure and legal operations, according to the firms.

Symantec and Veritas have also enlisted PricewaterhouseCoopers to provide merger and acquisition services and Bain and Co. to help with customer facing functions.

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