NortonLifeLock wants to buy Avast

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NortonLifeLock is in talks to acquire the security software maker Avast, in a deal that may value the latter at $8 billion. NortonLifeLock, which offers cybersecurity software and services, is in an advanced discussion with Avast, with The Wall Street Journal reporting that a deal could be reached by the end of this month, assuming the talks are successful.

Avast confirmed that the discussions are now about a cash-and-stock deal, but said that there is no certainty an agreement will be reached.

The company went public on the London Stock Exchange in May 2018 and has a market capitalization of $7.24 billion (5.23 billion pounds).

Avast’s storied history

Avast was founded in 1988 and makes security products for consumers and businesses. The company is best known for desktop products like AVG (acquired by Avast for $1.3 billion in 2016) and Avast.

The company self-describes as one of the largest security companies in the world, using next-gen technologies to combat cyberattacks ‘in real-time.’ Avast uses a cloud-based machine learning engine that gets constant data from its 435 million users.

The engine then uses the data to learn and adapt to block attacks at a rate of over 1.5 billion attacks per month.

Controversy

In January of last year, Avast was reported to be selling web browsing data that could be tied to individuals, using a subsidiary named Jumpshot. The practice is common among companies that offer free security but, the data is usually ‘cleaned’ to make it anonymous.

Avast had to shut down the subsidiary, with an apology by CEO Ondrej Vicek, followed by an investigation into the sale of browser histories.

NortonLifeLock was formerly known as Symantec Corp and was created after Broadcom acquired Symantec in November 2019. Combining its resources and those of Avast could make it one of the largest cybersecurity companies in the world.