Cybersecurity firm Avast begins buyout talks with antivirus owner Norton


An Avast Antivirus logo displayed on a smartphone. Photo: Omar Marques / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images

Shares of cybersecurity firm FTSE 100 (^ FTSE) Avast (AVST.L) surged Thursday after the announcement of buyout negotiations with the parent company of antivirus software Norton.

Avast said in a statement Thursday morning that it was “in advanced discussions” with Nasdaq-listed company NortonLifeLock (NLOK) over a possible merger. The statement follows a Wall Street Journal report on Wednesday night’s latest cry of the talks.

NortonLifeLock, which owns Norton antivirus software and sells other cybersecurity products, released its own statement on the talks.

“A combination of NortonLifeLock and Avast would bring together two companies with aligned visions, highly complementary business profiles and a shared commitment to innovation that helps protect and empower people to live their digital lives safely. security, ”said the NortonLifeLock board of directors.

“We would leverage the best of both companies to ensure the combination would benefit our customers, reward our employees and maximize long-term value for all shareholders.”

NortonLifeLock said it was considering a cash and stock offering on Avast. No prize has been given, but the Wall Street Journal reported that Avast could fetch around $ 8 billion (£ 5.8 billion). Avast shares jumped 13% on the news to hit the speculative deal price.

Avast shares jumped at the news of the talks.  Photo: Yahoo Finance UK

Avast shares jumped on news of the talks. Photo: Yahoo Finance UK

Both sides said an offer was not certain and a deal could not be guaranteed.

“Avast shares are on a broadly upward but still bumpy trajectory since its own listing in 2018,” said Danni Hewson, financial analyst at stockbroker AJ Bell. “The recent weakness in the share price may have alerted rival Norton to the possibility of a merger and its approach continues the current wave of foreign interest in mergers and acquisitions in UK companies.

“It remains to be seen whether the competition authorities, which have already sued Norton for its auto-renewal practices, could examine a combination between Norton and Avast, and its impact on consumers. “

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