Norton Set to Buy Avast for Over $8 Billion

After the pandemic fueled online activity, US cybersecurity giant NortonLifeLock announced Wednesday that it will buy Czech rival Avast for over $8 billion to create a leading consumer business.

The deal, equivalent to more than EUR 6.7 billion, "is a huge step forward for consumer cybersafety and will ultimately enable us to achieve our vision to protect and empower people to live their digital lives safely", Norton chief executive Vincent Pilette said in a joint statement.

Ondrej Vlcek, chief executive of London-listed Avast, said that amid increasing global cyberthreats, the tie-up would allow for "enhanced solutions and services, with improved capabilities".

The new group's safety offerings will benefit more than 500 million users, according to the statement.

Pilette was set to become the expanded group's CEO, while Vlcek was set to join NortonLifeLock as president and a member of the NortonLifeLock board of directors.

The combined company will have dual headquarters in Prague and Tempe, Arizona, and will be listed on the Nasdaq.

Businesses all over the world are facing an increasingly lucrative form of digital hostage-taking known as ransomware attacks, in which hackers encrypt victims' data and then demand money in exchange for restoring access.

In July, a massive ransomware attack on US tech firm Kaseya impacted businesses in at least 17 countries, ranging from pharmacies to gas stations.

While Kaseya was relatively unknown to the general public, analysts believe it was an easy target because its software is used by around 40,000 businesses, allowing hackers to cripple many businesses with a single strike.

"At a time when global cyber threats are growing, yet cyber safety penetration remains very low, together with NortonLifeLock, we will be able to accelerate our shared vision of providing holistic cyber protection for consumers around the globe," Vlcek added Wednesday.