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CMA: NortonLifeLock / Avast Deal Could Reduce Competition

March 17, 2022

The CMA has found that NortonLifeLock’s approximately £6bn purchase of Avast raises competition concerns and may now be referred for an in-depth investigation.

NortonLifeLock and Avast both offer cyber safety software to consumers under a variety of different brands. Products include antivirus software (also known as endpoint security software), privacy software (such as VPNs) and identity protection software.

As the companies are close competitors, with few other significant rivals, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is concerned that if completed the proposed deal could lead to a reduction in competition in the UK market. This could lead to UK consumers getting a worse deal when looking for cyber safety software in the future.

David Stewart, CMA Executive Director, said:

We are living more of our lives online and it is vital that people have access to competitive cyber safety software when seeking to protect themselves and their families.

NortonLifeLock’s proposed purchase of Avast could lead to a reduction in competition in the UK and ultimately a worse deal for consumers when looking for cyber safety software.

Unless the companies can offer a clear-cut solution to address our concerns, we intend to carry out an in-depth phase 2 investigation.

NortonLifeLock and Avast now have 5 working days to submit proposals to address the CMA’s competition concerns. The CMA then has a further 5 working days to consider whether to accept any offer instead of referring the case for an in-depth phase 2 investigation.

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