U.S. cybersecurity firm NortonLifeLock’s $8.6 billion deal to purchase rival UK-based Avast will face an in-depth probe in the UK.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said the deal could lead to British customers getting a worse deal when looking for cyber security software.
“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,” CMA Executive Director David Stewart said in a statement.
NortonLifeLock and Avast, the two leading cybersecurity vendors, need to submit proposals to allay the regulator’s concerns within five working days. The CMA said it will review their proposals and decide whether to take its investigation into phase two.
NortonLifeLock in a news statement said that the decision is surprising. “We believe this transaction can only benefit consumers across the globe, including in the U.K., through increased innovation and greater consumer freedom and choice beyond big tech platform providers in the Cyber Safety market.”
NortonLifeLock said regulators from across the globe, including the US Department of Justice, and in Europe the German Federal Cartel Office, and the Spanish National Markets and Competition Commission, have reviewed and cleared the transaction.
NortonLifeLock said it remains confident that the transaction should be approved and does not intend to propose any Phase 1 remedies.
The company now expects to close the transaction in mid-to-late 2022 in the wake of the start of a Phase 2 review.
The CMA started its initial probe in January into the cash-and-stock deal, which was announced in August and aims to create a leader in consumer security software.