Vulnerability Management

UK regulator raises competition concerns in NortonLifeLock’s $8B purchase of Avast

(“NortonLifeLock Office Headquarters – Tempe, Arizona” by Tony Webster is marked with CC BY 2.0.)

U.S.-based cybersecurity firm NortonLifeLock had five working days to address concerns by the United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority regarding its planned purchase of Czech rival Avast for approximately $8 billion (£6 billion).

The British regulatory agency warned in a statement Wednesday that the deal could reduce competition in the U.K. market for antivirus software, privacy software such as VPNs, and identity protection solutions because there would be few other significant rivals.

“NortonLifeLock’s proposed purchase of Avast could lead to a reduction in competition in the UK and ultimately a worse deal for consumers when looking for cyber safety software,” said CMA Executive Director David Stewart, in a press release. “Unless the companies can offer a clear-cut solution to address our concerns, we intend to carry out an in-depth phase 2 investigation.”

In a statement posted to its website March 16, NortonLifeLock called the CMA’s announcement “surprising” considering regulators in the U.S., Germany and Spain cleared the transaction and remained confident that it would be approved. 

“We believe this transaction can only benefit consumers across the globe, including in the U.K., through increased innovation and greater consumer freedom and choice beyond big tech platform providers in the burgeoning Cyber Safety market,” the statement read.

NortonLifeLock said it does not intend to propose any phase 1 remedies, but will engage with CMA and its review, the statement continued. The company expected the transaction to close in mid- to late-2022, but the timeline is subject to change.

Stephen Weigand

Stephen Weigand is managing editor and production manager for SC Media. He has worked for news media in Washington, D.C., covering military and defense issues, as well as federal IT. He is based in the Seattle area.

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