NortonLifeLock Acquired Avast for $8.6 Billion Forming an Antivirus Giant

Written by Bill Toulas
Last updated August 11, 2021

NortonLifeLock (formerly Symantec), the American software company that focuses on cybersecurity products and services (which is owned by Broadcom, the semiconductor giant), has just acquired Avast, the Czech anti-virus company that counts over 435 million customers. The deal amount was agreed at $8.6 billion, a significant investment expected to yield $280 million in gross cost synergies and new reinvestment capacity for innovation and growth. The two corporate entities will merge, with NortonLifeLock absorbing Avast’s shares, employees, and users.

Avast themselves held AVG, which they acquired in 2016 for $1.3 billion, so these assets are also going to Norton now. Last summer, NortonLifeLock acquired Avira in an all-cash transaction for approximately $360 million, bringing aboard a consumer-level security and privacy solutions portfolio. So, this merger essentially forms an antivirus giant that is going to be a massive force in the field.

Norton’s CEO, Vincent Pilette, stated:

This transaction is a huge step forward for consumer Cyber Safety and will ultimately enable us to achieve our vision to protect and empower people to live their digital lives safely. With this combination, we can strengthen our Cyber Safety platform and make it available to more than 500 million users. We will also have the ability to further accelerate innovation to transform Cyber Safety.

Avast’s CEO, Ondřej VlčeK, stated:

At a time when global cyber threats are growing, yet cyber safety penetration remains very low, together with NortonLifeLock, we will be able to accelerate our shared vision of providing holistic cyber protection for consumers around the globe. Our talented teams will have better opportunities to innovate and develop enhanced solutions and services, with improved capabilities from access to superior data insights. Through our well-established brands, greater geographic diversification, and access to a larger global user base, the combined businesses will be poised to access the significant growth opportunity that exists worldwide.

Avast’s CEO will now join NortonLifelock as President and member of the Board of Directors, while Norton’s CEO and CFO (Natalie Ders) will remain in their positions. Additionally, co-founder and director of Avast, Pavel Baudiš, will now become an independent director at NortonLifeLock. As for the employees, about 1,000 people will lose their jobs due to responsibility overlaps. In total, the new entity will employ roughly 4,000 people after the merger.

It is clear that the field is booming right now, and the pandemic has only accelerated the growth as people and companies had their security needs suddenly extended. Avast’s share price grew by about 90% since May 2020, when the lockdowns and WFH systems were announced. Over the same period, NortonLifeLock’s shares saw their value getting increased by 40%.

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