July 16, 2021
The latest big-tech M&A talk involves a potential merger of rivals Avast and NortonLifelock, and Intel potentially acquiring semiconductor manufacturer GlobalFoundries.
London-listed cybersecurity firm Avast is in advanced talks with U.S. rival NortonLifeLock about a merger. The pairing would create a leader in consumer security software.
Avast released a statement confirming that its board of directors is in advanced discussions regarding the possible merger.
“There can be no certainty as to whether any transaction will take place or the terms on which any possible merger may be agreed,” it said. “A further announcement will be made if and when appropriate. The possible merger may be implemented as a cash and share offer for Avast by Norton.”
Keep up with the latest channel-impacting mergers and acquisitions in our M&A roundup.
Avast said NortonLifelock has until Aug. 11 to either announce a firm intention to make an offer for Avast or say it doesn’t intend to make an offer. This deadline can be extended.
Avast confirmed advanced talks of a merger without NortonLifelock’s consent. NortonLifelock didn’t respond to requests for comment.
A Closer Look at Potential Merger
Tony Massimini is senior industry analyst for information and network security at Frost & Sullivan. He said NortonLifelock is heavily consumer with some business in SMB. On the other hand, Avast has more emphasis on SMB and also in consumer.
Frost & Sullivan’s Tony Massimini
“NortonLifelock is about two-and-half times the size of Avast,” he said. “This would add revenue for NortonLifelock and expand its customer base.”
In terms of endpoint security on the consumer side, there are just a handful of companies, Massimini said. NortonLifelock is the dominant player in consumer, and both NortonLifelock and Avast are top players in SMB.
“This will make NortonLifelock a stronger player in consumer-SMB,” he said. “That market’s not as crowded as the overall endpoint market.”
Potential changes in the consumer market could make for a “very competitive 2022,” Massimini said. In addition to the potential NorthLifelock-Avast pairing, McAfee is selling off its enterprise business. The McAfee that remains will focus more on consumer.
Intel Exploring GlobalFoundries Acquisition
Any acquisition talks don’t appear to include GlobalFoundries directly, as a spokesperson for the company said it was not in discussions with Intel.
The potential acquisition comes amid a global semiconductor shortage, according to Reuters. The potential acquisition could help Intel shore up production of chips. Carmakers are struggling to keep operations running due to the shortage.
Neither Intel nor GlobalFoundries responded to requests for comment.
These potential deals follow Microsoft’s announcement that it’s acquiring RiskIQ, and Apollo Global Management reportedly wanting to buy consumer assets from Lumen Technologies in a deal worth more than $5 billion.
In addition, Broadcom reportedly was pursuing an acquisition of SAS Institute. However, Jim Goodnight, SAS’ CEO, sent a companywide email telling employees that the company is not for sale.
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