CMA clears the USD 8.1 bln merger between NortonLifeLock and Avast

Monday 5 September 2022 11:22 CET | News

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has cleared the proposed USD 8.1 billion merger between cybersecurity providers NortonLifeLock and Avast.

The merger was firstly revealed in August 2021, with CMA declaring in March 2022 that it is starting an investigation as the combining of these two market giants has raised competition concerns. As both companies are cybersecurity players with products spanning antivirus, identity protection, VPNs, and more, it may be true that competition might have raised some eyebrows when it came to the merger.

However, in August 2022, the CMA came to the conclusion that the merger didn’t raise competition issues in the UK, citing Microsoft’s growing array of cybersecurity products as one reason.

According to the CMA, these products – along with services from rivals such as McAfee – means that everyone has become less reliant on NortonLifeLock or Avast.

The CMA also found that security applications provided by Microsoft, which holds a unique position in the market as the owner of the Windows operating system, offer increasingly important alternatives for consumers.

What does the merger mean for customers?

NortonLifeLock is a US security company with over 80 million users. They offer antivirus, identity theft protection, and a VPN service. Avast is a Czech Republic-based security company with over 435 million users. They are best known for their freemium antivirus products, but they are also a popular VPN provider.

The Competition and Markets Authority clears the proposed USD 8.1 billion merger between cybersecurity providers NortonLifeLock and Avast.

Norton is considered stronger in identity protection while Avast has always been primarily focused on privacy. The new company probably wants to combine these specialities.

Avast is arguably well known for its free service. Out of its total users, only 16.5 million users pay a subscription fee. On the other hand, Norton is primarily a paid-for service, but the new company will probably not expect free users to suddenly start paying.

It's reported that the merger between Norton and Avast will result in a 25% reduction in staff numbers.

It's possible that Norton and Avast will continue to offer very different services, but if their products become too similar, this can lead to an increase in cybercrime. Cybercriminals work hard to get their products past antivirus software. This makes it preferable for them when large antivirus companies start offering identical products.

Other notable cybersecurity mergers and acquisitions

In August 2022, Thoma Bravo acquired Ping Identity in a USD 2.8 billion deal. This was the second time that Ping Identity has bounced into the hands of a PE firm. Prior to going public, it was majority-owned by Vista Equity. Vista retained a share of the company, currently 9.7% of its outstanding shares.

In July 2022, Thales acquired OneWelcome, a European player in the market of customer identity and access management, for EUR 100 million. One of OneWelcome’s expertise is to grant users a greater control of their information and data, across any platform or application as it helps manage their passwords and consent preferences.

In May 2022, LexisNexis Risk Solutions, part of RELX, acquired BehavioSec, a behavioural biometrics technology provider. Solutions from BehavioSec will become a part of the Business Services group within LexisNexis Risk Solutions and improve its device and digital identity-focused offerings, such as LexisNexis ThreatMetrix.

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Keywords: merger, cybersecurity, identity verification, identity theft, data
Categories: Fraud & Financial Crime
Companies: Avast, CMA, NortonLifeLock
Countries: United Kingdom
This article is part of category

Fraud & Financial Crime






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