Channel Insider content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

BOSTON, Dec 14 (Reuters) – Symantec Corp’s (NASDAQ:SYMC) lead independent director said that the world’s biggest maker of anti-virus software is "under attack" by activist shareholders critical of a big acquisition the company made in 2005.

The comment suggests that there is tension between the company’s board of directors and a group of activist shareholders who have recently acquired stakes in Symantec.

"We are under attack right now from several activist shareholders who want us to undo a massive merger that we did four or five years ago," Robert "Steve" Miller, the company’s lead independent director, said on Tuesday.

Miller, who is also chairman of insurer AIG (AIG.N), made the comment during opening remarks at the M&A Advisor Awards and Summit in New York.

Investors have long been critical of Symantec’s 2005 purchase of storage management software maker Veritas.

Relational Investors and several other investment firms known for shareholder activism recently acquired stakes in Symantec in the belief that its stock is undervalued, a source told Reuters last month.

The source told Reuters that Relational would consider pushing the software company to break up its core security business and the storage management division that it built out of Veritas.

Officials with Relational could not immediately be reached for comment.

Symantec shares were up 0.6 percent at $17.24 on Tuesday afternoon. (Reporting by Jim Finkle, editing by Matthew Lewis)