NortonLifeLock’s $8.6bn acquisition of Avast does not raise cybersecurity competition concerns, the UK regulator has found.
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has provisionally cleared a merger between cybersecurity giants NortonLifeLock and Avast following a thorough investigation of competition concerns.
NortonLifeLock first announced plans to acquire Avast in an $8.6bn deal in August 2021.
After initially identifying potential competition implications of a merger between two large cybersecurity companies that provide antivirus and VPN services, the CMA launched an in-depth investigation into the deal in March.
“We are living more of our lives online and it is vital that people have access to competitive cyber safety software when seeking to protect themselves and their families,” CMA director David Stewart said at the time.
Now, the UK regulatory body has concluded that NortonLifeLock acquiring Avast does not raise competition concerns in the UK. This is due to the stiff competition that will still be provided from the likes of rivals such as McAfee and Microsoft.
“Millions of people across the UK rely on cyber safety services to keep them safe online,” said Kirstin Baker, chair of the CMA inquiry group into the merger.
“After gathering further information from the companies involved and other industry players, we are currently satisfied that this deal won’t worsen the options available to consumers.”
The CMA investigation found that the supply of cybersecurity software to consumers is “rapidly evolving” with providers of both paid and free services continually improving their products to meet growing and changing customer needs.
It singled out McAfee as the main rival for the two merging parties. Coupled with a “range of other suppliers that currently have a small market position” in the UK, there will be enough competition for the merger to go through.
The CMA also noted that Microsoft holds a “unique position in the market” as the owner of the Windows operating system.
Responses are now welcome from interested parties to the CMA’s provisional findings by 24 August. A final report on the merger is then expected by 8 September.
Shares in Avast hit an all-time high today (3 August) after the provisional clearance was announced.
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