The Czech IT security company Avast is taken over by US competitor NortonLifeLock in a billion-dollar deal. Both board members gave the green light for an agreement. Together they reached more than 500 million customers worldwide and could make a diverse range, stressed NortonLifeLock boss Vincent Pilette. He should remain at the top after the merger. The merger gives more opportunities for innovation, said Avast boss Ondrej Vlcek, who is to move into the executive suite of NortonLifeLock.
Avast’s history goes back to 1988, when the now 61-year-old Pavel Baudis wrote a program to remove the Vienna virus. Together with Eduard Kucera, his colleague at a mathematical research center, he founded the antivirus company that was later named Avast. In 2001, Avast offered its software in a basic version free of charge for the first time in the competitive IT security market. NortonLifeLock originated from Symantec and focuses on security software for private users.
Avast is valued for the business with a total of 8.1 billion to 8.6 billion dollars (6.9 billion to 7.3 billion euros). The previous Avast shareholders will be offered a combination of cash and new shares, as the companies announced (PDF).
IT security is a growing market, especially in view of the accumulation of sensational cyberattacks in recent years. NortonLifeLock put in the first quarter of its fiscal year according to a release from July with 691 million US dollar to 13 percent more than in the same quarter of the previous year. Avast achieved $ 471 million in the first half of this year, 8 percent more than a year earlier.