UK impedes NortonLifeLock’s $8.6 billion Avast acquistion deal

The UK has roadblocked NortonLifeLock’s $8.6 billion purchase of Avast as Britain’s anti-trust regulator said it is planning to launch a deeper investigation into the proposed cybersecurity merger following competition concerns.

NortonLifeLock in August proposed to buy London-listed rival Avast in a cash-and-stock cyber deal to create a leader in consumer security software catering to more than 500 million customers.

Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said the deal could harm competition and lead to British customers getting a worse deal when looking for security software, sending Avast shares tumbling 11%.

NortonLifeLock has said on it did not plan to propose any ‘Phase 1’ remedies, calling the CMA’s decision “surprising”.

NortonLifeLock said the investigation would delay the completion of the deal, which is now expected to close in mid-to-late 2022 and not April 4 as expected.

The deal was initially expected to close last month, but the Arizona-based company was awaiting regulatory nods from the United Kingdom and Spain.

Spain has approved the deal.

The deal, which would marry NortonLifeLock’s strength in identity theft protection and Avast’s privacy, has already received the green light in the United States and Germany.

NortonLifeLock, previously known as Symantec, was renamed after it sold its enterprise business to Broadcom in 2019. It has a larger premium business selling products to consumers to combat viruses, spyware and malware.

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