UK tentatively approves $8.1bn merger between NortonLifeLock and Avast, citing competition from Microsoft

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UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) temporarily approved a proposed $8.1 billion merger between cybersecurity companies NortonLifeLock and Avast, with Microsoft becoming an unlikely ally as the two companies look to push the deal over the line.

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The merger has been hanging in the balance ever since the two companies first announced their plans last August, with CMA disclosure in March that he launched an investigation because the rapprochement between the two cybersecurity giants raised competition concerns. Indeed, the two companies offer a range of security software products including antivirus, identity protection and VPNs, with the CMA noting at the time that they are “close competitors” with “several other significant contenders”.

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“We live most of our lives online and it is vital that people have access to competitive cybersecurity software when they want to protect themselves and their families,” David Stewart, CMA chief executive, said at the time.

No problem

Fast forward to today and the CMA said it has now concluded that the merger “raises no competition concerns in the UK” and that there are various alternative free and premium cybersecurity software products on the market. These include the likes of McAfee, which are actually was recently purchased consortium of investors for 14 billion dollarsand the mighty Microsoft, which, according to the CMA, “occupies a unique position in the market as the owner of the Windows operating system.”

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Microsoft really backed up its ubiquitous operating system with its own built-in Defender-branded antivirus software — back in June, the company launched Microsoft Defender for individuals, an online security app for Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscribers on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. And this is also launched standalone version Microsoft Defender for Business. Together, these different products mean that consumers and businesses have become less reliant on security software from third-party vendors like NortonLifeLock or Avast.

“Apps recently launched by Microsoft for its customers bring its cybersecurity offerings closer to those of merging businesses and are likely to further strengthen Microsoft as a competitor going forward,” the CMA said in a statement.

As far as UK law is concerned, the merger is not yet complete. The pre-approval has been sent for further discussion, and “interested parties” are invited to respond by August 24 – a final decision is expected by September 8, 2022.


Credit: techcrunch.com /

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