NortonLifeLock is working on a deal to acquire Prague cybersecurity software firm Avast, which trades on the London Stock Exchange, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday (July 14). Based in Arizona, NortonLifeLock has until Aug. 11 to formally announce its bid intentions.
Avast offers free and premium security software for consumers and indicates that it serves 435 million active users. Its revenue last year was about $893 million. Sources told WSJ that a deal could close before July is over but there is always a chance discussions could dissolve.
With a market value that is roughly $7.2 billion, the deal could value Avast upwards of $8 billion. NortonLifeLock — formerly known as Symantec — was valued at $16 billion before its $10.7 billion deal to sell its enterprise-security business to Broadcom Inc. in 2019, WSJ reported. The remaining company now offers antivirus software and protection against identity theft.
Avast was founded in 1988 by Pavel Baudiš and Eduard Kučera and they both control about 35 percent of shares and serve on the company’s board of directors. They declined an acquisition offer from McAfee in 1997, WSJ reported. The company went public on the London Stock Exchange in 2018 and raised $200 million at a $3.2 billion valuation.
Activist investor Starboard Value has an approximate 3 percent stake in NortonLifeLock, WSJ reported, citing FactSet. Starboard also has a board seat on Activist.
Cybersecurity is a hot topic following numerous breaches of high-profile companies that resulted in customers’ data being exposed. For example, the Equifax breach four years ago exposed nearly 150 million people and was among the first times that people realized the extent of personal data being stored by companies, WSJ reported.
Avant CEO Matt Bochenek told PYMNTS CEO Karen Webster last month that the mainstream credit market doesn’t have sufficient data to make decisions based on a FICO score. FinTechs can serve the underserved by deriving information from data and analytics.