Symantec buys anti-ID fraud firm LifeLock for $2.3 billion

Company behind Norton bets big on identity-theft protection services.

Symantec, one of the biggest consumer computer security firms in the world, is about to become even bigger with plans to buy LifeLock—an identity-theft protection service.

The proposed $2.3 billion (£1.86 billion) deal has been okayed by the boards of directors of both companies, and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2017, pending regulatory approval.

LifeLock’s shareholders will receive $24 (£19.45) per share—a 16 percent premium to its closing price on Friday of $20.75.

Symantec, which owns the Norton suite of cybersecurity software, claimed that the deal will make it the world’s largest consumer-facing online protection outfit.

“As we all know, consumer cybercrime has reached crisis levels. LifeLock is a leading provider of identity and fraud protection services, with over 4.4 million highly-satisfied members and growing. With the combination of Norton and LifeLock, we will be able to deliver comprehensive cyber defence for consumers,” said Symantec chief Greg Clark.

The cybersecurity market is growing: it’s currently worth around $10 billion (£8.1 billion), while Symantec estimates that the total addressable market in the US alone is 80 million people.

Tempe, Arizona-headquartered LifeLock says it provides “proactive identity theft protection services for consumers and consumer risk management services for enterprises.” Among other things, it apparently alerts users to unauthorised identity access by monitoring new account openings and credit applications, while it also trains police, government, merchants, and NGOs in identity protection techniques.

Symantec is taking on $750 million (£608 million) in new debt to finance the purchase, which follows its acquisition in August of cloud security firm Blue Coat for $4.65 billion (£3.77 billion). That deal saw Clark—who had been Blue Coat’s CEO—take the helm at Symantec. The company’s former boss, Michael Brown, was ousted earlier this year following disappointing financial results.

Via: Ars Technika