UPDATED 21:56 EDT / AUGUST 10 2021

SECURITY

NortonLifeLock acquires Avast as McAfee reports solid earnings

Another busy day on the cybersecurity front: NortonLifeLock Inc. said late today it’s acquiring Avast plc, and McAfee Corp. beat analysts’ expectations in its second-quarter earnings.

The acquisition of Avast PLC, formally referred to as a merger, was first reported in July. Under the terms of the agreement, Avast shareholders will be entitled to receive a combination of cash consideration and newly issued shares in NortonLifeLock with alternative consideration elections available.

The deal values Avast at between $8.1 billion and $8.6 billion, depending on Avast shareholders’ elections. Avast went public on the London Stock Exchange in May 2018 and has a market capitalization of £5.87 billion ($8.12 billion) as of the close of trading on the London Stock Exchange Aug. 10.

Founded in 1988, Avast makes digital security products for consumers and businesses. The company is best known for its desktop products, Avast and AVG, the latter acquired by Avast for $1.3 billion in 2016.

The company describes itself as “one of the largest security companies in the world using next-gen technologies to fight cyberattacks in real-time.” Avast has not been without controversy throughout its history. In January 2020, Avast was reported to be selling web browsing data that could be linked to individual users via a subsidiary called Jumpshot. A government investigation was launched into Avast’s sale of browser histories in February 2020.

“This transaction is a huge step forward for consumer cyber safety and will ultimately enable us to achieve our vision to protect and empower people to live their digital lives safely,” Vincent Pilette, chief executive officer of NortonLifeLock, said in a statement. “With this combination, we can strengthen our cyber safety platform and make it available to more than 500 million users. We will also have the ability to further accelerate innovation to transform cyber safety.”

The combination of the two companies will create a cybersecurity giant with some of the biggest names in consumer desktop security: AVG, Avast and Norton, now owned by the one company.

NortonLifeLock itself had previously been subject to takeover speculation in a deal discussed with McAfee in 2019. That didn’t end up progressing past talks between the two companies.

McAfee, which was spun out as a separate company from Intel Corp. in 2017 and subsequently went public in 2020, continues to go from strength to strength with solid figures in its latest earnings report.

For the quarter ended June 26, McAfee reported revenue rose 22% from a year ago, to $467 million. Earnings came to 21 cents per share. Analysts had been predicting revenue of $433.99 million and earnings of 18 cents per share.

Increasing user subscriptions drove growth in the quarter with McAfee adding 556,000 new direct-to-consumer customers. Other highlights in the quarter included the sale of McAfee’s enterprise business for $4 billion in a deal previously revealed in March and a new multiyear extended agreement with Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. to deliver security solutions to Samsung device users.

For the quarter ahead ending Sept. 26, McAfee predicts revenue of between $461 million and $467 million and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of between $169 million and $175 million. For the full year ending Dec. 25, McAfee expects revenue of $1.84 billion to $1.85 billion and adjusted earnings of $765 million to $775 million.

Investors liked the numbers, with shares in McAfee up almost 4% in after-hours trading.

Photo: NortonLifeLock/YouTube

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