In July 2021, NortonLifeLock, a well-known security software developer, announced a merger with Czech security software developer Avast. At that time, the transaction price was $7.2 billion, and now it seems to be $8.1 billion. Of course, such large mergers require the approval of multinational regulators.
Just when everyone thought it was impossible to pass the trial, the British antitrust regulator took a 180-degree turn and announced that it would approve the $8 billion merger transaction between Avast and the American software company NortonLifeLock. As a result, Avast’s stock price jumped as much as 43% yesterday.
Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority announced on Wednesday that it had tentatively agreed to the deal, saying competition from other players in the market was already strong enough, including rival McAfee.
NortonLifeLock, formerly known as Symantec is an Internet security technology manufacturer headquartered in Tempe, Arizona, USA, founded on March 1, 1982, and has a global presence. Branches in 40 countries.
Of course, a few years ago Symantec was sued by Google and the Mooise Foundation for serious issues with SSL certificates then went bankrupt and sold the business. Norton at the time was later renamed NortonLifeLock and continued to provide consumers with security software services, including Norton 360 and more.
Another, Avast Software is a computer security company headquartered in Prague, Czech Republic, which develops computer security software, machine learning, and AI. The company has about 1,700 employees in 25 offices around the world, has more than 435 million monthly active users, ranks second in market share among global antivirus software vendors, and previously acquired the developer of cleaning tool CCleaner.
Avast was founded in 1988 by Pavel Bodie and Edward Cussera. In July 2016, Avast acquired rival AVG Technologies for $1.3 billion. Interestingly, the UK government was opposed to the investigation a year ago, as the merger of the two security giants has few significant competitors. As a result, the attitude reversed a year later. The UK believed that Microsoft was already in a unique position in the market, so the merger of NortonLifeLock and Avast would not cause any competition problems.
The CMA said in March it was concerned that the merger would reduce competition and that consumers would be forced to accept higher prices. However, the regulator said Wednesday that after a more detailed analysis, it concluded that the combined business faces “significant competition” from McAfee and a range of other suppliers.
The regulator will receive responses from interested parties ahead of its final report in September. The two companies had hoped to close the deal in April. In a statement Wednesday, NortonLifeLock said Sept. 12 was the first possible closing date based on the CMA’s schedule. The company said it intends to “work with the CMA and Avast to enable the release of the CMA’s final report as soon as practicable”.
The cash-and-stock deal, which values Avast at between $8.1 billion and $8.6 billion, will create a business that sells security software to 500 million customers. Avast CEO Ondrej Vlcek will become president of the combined business.
NortonLifeLock CEO Vincent Pilette said he plans to cut 1,000 jobs in the combined group. The deal would give the enlarged company more clout in an increasingly crowded market. Big tech groups like Google, Microsoft, and Apple are gradually building security software into their operating systems.