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NortonLifeLock, Avast In Advanced Merger Talks

Both companies acknowledge they are in talks to merge, a move that would result in a large consumer-focused security business and a smaller enterprise security business. There are no guarantees the deal will happen, but NortonLifeLock now has until August 11 to state its intentions.

NortonLifeLock and Avast have confirmed they are in talks about a possible merger that could create the world’s largest consumer-focused cybersecurity company.

The two firms confirmed they are in advanced discussions over such a merger after a report Wednesday by the Wall Street Journal that NortonLifeLock is in talks to acquire Avast in a cash-and-stock deal that could be completed in July. The deal could be valued at more than $8 billion, the Journal reported.

Prague, Czech Republic-based Avast, with U.S. headquarters in Redwood City, Calif., offers both home and business cybersecurity technology, and works with its indirect channel partners to deliver layered endpoint and cloud based network security services, monitor threats, and resolve issues.

[Related: 10 Emerging Cybersecurity Trends To Watch In 2021]

NortonLifeLock, formed in late 2019 as a spin-off from security giant Symantec when Symantec’s enterprise security business was acquired by Broadcom, is a specialist in consumer-focused cybersecurity technology. NortonLifeLock started as LifeLock, which Symantec acquired in late 2016.

Should the NortonLifeLock-Avast deal go through, it will be done soon. According to rules of the London Stock Exchange, where Avast is listed, NortonLifeLock is required to state whether or not it intends to make an offer for Avast by 5 p.m. London time on August 11.

Avast, in response to press speculation about a possible merger with NortonLifeLock, said in a statement that the company “confirms that it is in advanced discussions regarding a possible merger of Avast with NortonLifeLock Inc. ... There can be no certainty as to whether any transaction will take place or the terms on which any Possible Merger may be agreed. A further announcement will be made if and when appropriate.”

That statement was made without the consent of NortonLifeLock, Avast said.

NortonLifeLock in its own statement confirmed that it is in advanced discussions with Avast’s board of directors about a merger that would involve a cash and stock offer by NortonLifeLock for the entire issued and to-be-issued share capital of Avast.

“A combination of NortonLifeLock and Avast would bring together two companies with aligned visions, highly complementary business profiles and a joint commitment to innovation that helps protect and empower people to live their digital lives safely. We would draw on the best of both companies to ensure that the combination would benefit our customers, reward our employees and maximize long term value for all shareholders,” NortonLifeLock said in the statement.

NortonLifeLock spokespeople did not respond to a CRN request for more information.

An Avast spokesperson referred CRN to the Avast statement.

NortonLifeLock’s stock sank 3.86 percent on the news to $25.87 Thursday, while Avast stock soared more than 17 percent to $8.30.

2021 is shaping up to be a big year for security-focused acquisitions.

Cisco in June closed its acquisition of Kenna Security, a move that gave it increased vulnerability management technologies for the Cisco SecureX platform.

Splunk in May unveiled its intent to acquire TruStar as a way to increase its security analytics capabilities through cloud-native threat intelligence integration and automation.

June also saw private equity firm Symphony Technology Group (STG) agree to buy FireEye’s product business for $1.2 billion, separating it from Mandiant’s solutions and services business.

Datto in March acquired BitDam to beef up its SMB MSP cyber threat protection.

Global consulting firms Accenture and Deloitte have both made security acquisitions this year as well.

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