The Czech multinational antivirus company Avast will merge with NortonLifeLock from the USA. According to the announcement of both companies, the American cyber company intends to pay 8.1 to 8.6 billion dollars (about 175.6 to 186.4 billion CZK) for the merger. Today, Avast’s CEO Ondřej Vlček emphasized that this is a merger, not an acquisition of one of the companies – after the merger, according to him, it will be one of the twenty largest software companies in the world. He said the merger should be completed in nine to ten months at the earliest and that the new joint venture would bear a name that had not yet been decided.
The current shareholders of Avast will own 14 to 26 percent of the new company, said Vlček. Shareholders of both companies will be given the opportunity to choose between two merger options. The first expects to receive 90 percent of their share paid in cash and the remaining ten percent in the form of shares of the new merged company. Holders of Avast shares will receive $ 7.61 (CZK 165) per share. The second option, which is preferred by Avast’s management, envisages the payment of cash for 31 percent of the current stake at a price of $ 2.37 (CZK 51.4) per share. For the remaining share, the owners will receive shares in the new company.
Members of the management of Avast Vlček and Pavel Baudiš will become members of the board of directors of the new company, which will be established after the merger. The CEO will be Vincent Pilette, CEO of NortonLifeLock. The new company will be headquartered in Prague and in Tempe, Arizona. The service is planned to be offered by more than half a billion users. According to Vlček, the current brands of Norton and Avast products will not cease to exist. “A world leader in end-user cyber security will emerge, combining the strength of Avast in privacy and NortonLifeLock in identity protection,” added Vlcek.
Analysts believe that the merger could create competition for the largest software companies in the world market. “It is not a merger of two identical companies, each specializes in a different area and the goal is to create competition for the biggest players, such as Microsoft or Google,” said company economist Roger Dominik Stroukal. According to Cyrrus company manager Tomáš Pfeiler, the scope of the business is comparable only to the acquisition of 200 billion crowns by the Japanese group Asahi, which in 2017 took over Plzeňský prazdroj. At that time, however, it was a transaction for Central European assets, not just for a Czech company.
According to analysts, Avast’s merger with NortonLifeLock will also mean its exit from the Prague Stock Exchange. “It is a pity that the shares of such a technological company will disappear from the Czech stock market, but the offer of American competition was too attractive,” said Vojtěch Duffek, 4fin’s regional director. The Prague Stock Exchange itself did not comment on the possible departure of Avast.
Avast has been operating on the market since 1988 and its shares are traded on the Prague and London stock exchanges. He is one of the pioneers in the field of computer security. Provides security programs for computers and mobile devices. Its products are used by over 435 million users worldwide, largely free of charge. The company announced today that in the first half of the year it increased its adjusted operating profit EBITDA by 11.9 percent year-on-year to $ 270.2 million (5.9 billion crowns). Adjusted sales then increased by 8.8 percent to $ 471.3 million (10.2 billion crowns).
NortonLifeLock has a market value of about $ 16 billion and previously operated under the name Symantec. However, in 2019, he sold the enterprise and government security software vendor Symantec to the U.S. chip maker Broadcom. His most prominent business items are now Norton antivirus and LifeLock identity theft protection products.