NortonLifeLock and Avast Merger would create a new cyber security behemoth
Avast could soon become part of NortonLifeLock, provided that the shareholders of both companies and regulators approve the deal. The company announced plans for a mixed cash and stock merger on August 10, 2021.
Both security companies have a long history in the security field. Avast was founded in 1988 and managed to gain a considerable market share thanks to its free security offerings. The company acquired its competitor AVG in 2016 and CCleaner maker Piriform in 2017.
Symantec was founded in 1982. Part of the company was sold in 2019 to Broadcom, and NortonLifeLock would be the company for the non-Enterprise parts of the business. NortonLifeLock bought the security company Avira in 2020. Bullguard, another security company, joined Avira in 2021 to become part of NortonLifeLock as well.
The deal has been approved unanimously by the Board of Directors of both companies, and is subject to approval by the shareholders of Avast and NortonLifeLock. The deal is expected to close in mid-2022.
The boards of NortonLifeLock and Avast believe that the merger has compelling strategic and financial rationale and represents an attractive opportunity to create a new, industry-leading consumer Cyber Safety business, leveraging the established brands, technical expertise and innovation of both groups to deliver substantial benefits to consumers, shareholders, and other stakeholders.
The deal values Avast at about 8 Billion US Dollars. Avast Shareholders have two options, Majority Cash Option and Majority Stock Option, for each share that they hold.
NortonLifeLock CEO, Vincent Pillete, and NortonLifeLock CFO, Natalie Derse, will remain CEO and CFO of the company. Avast CEO Ondrej Vlcek will become a NortonLifeLock president and member of the board.
NortonLifeLock has more than 500 million users after the merger in the consumer space. The company owns several major antivirus and security companies if the deal passes, including Avast, Avira, Bullguard, Piriform and HideMyAss.
The merger creates a consumer security behemoth. On Windows, both companies have a combined market share of more than 25% of the entire market (as of 2020).
It is unclear at this point if some products will be merged into others, or if products will be sold after the merger completes.
Competitors do exist. Besides Microsoft, which has a distinct advantage as Windows Defender is included in Windows by default, there is ESET, McAfee, Kaspersky, BitDefender, WebRoot and others who all have a sizeable market share as well.
Now You: What is your take on the merger?