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UK Watchdog Further Probes NortonLifeLock’s Avast Purchase

 |  March 27, 2022

British competition regulator CMA said Friday that it has referred NortonLifeLock Inc.’s proposed acquisition of Avast for further investigation over competition concerns.

The Competition and Markets Authority said that the parties had until Wednesday to offer undertakings that it may accept to mitigate competition concerns. The companies said on March 18 that they wouldn’t provide any such remedies.

As a result, the regulator has decided to refer the merger for an in-depth phase 2 investigation.

The CMA had previously warned that the merger could lead to reduced competition in the U.K. market, as both companies sell cyber-safety software and are close competitors with few other significant rivals.

US software company NortonLifeLock previously said it found the CMA’s decision surprising and that it was confident the merger should be approved. It further said it expects the deal with Czech software developer Avast to become effective in mid-to-late 2022.

The deal, announced in August for up to US$8.6 billion in cash and shares, would further NortonLifeLock’s efforts to consolidate itself as a leader in consumer security software, a growing area for increasingly digital economies.

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