NortonLifeLock and Avast merger could reduce competition, UK's CMA warns

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The watchdog will launch a phase two investigation into the merger unless NortonLifeLock and Avast address its concerns within five days

NortonLifeLock’s merging with Avast could reduce competition in the UK antivirus software market due to a shortage of other significant rivals, potentially leaving consumers with worse deals.

That's according to UK’s Competition Market Authority (CMA), which on Wednesday described the two merging companies as “close competitors”. Both NortonLifeLock and Avast develop and distribute consumer-oriented antivirus software platforms as well as utilities such as virtual private networks (VPNs), password managers, and device performance tuning tools.

CMA executive director David Stewart said that the watchdog will launch an “in-depth phase two investigation” into the merger if the two companies don’t offer “a clear-cut solution” addressing the concerns within the next five days.

“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,” said Stewart.
 
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