The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has formally approved the proposed $8.1 billion merger between cybersecurity giants NortonLifeLock and Avast, a month after conditionally greenlighting the deal.
The merger was hanging in the balance since plans were first revealed last August. CMA revealed in March that it is launching an investigation, saying the combination of two closely related market-leading competitors raises significant competition concerns. And that’s true, as both companies are among the major players in the cybersecurity space, with products spanning antivirus, identity protection, VPNs, and more.
The CMA took a slightly different tone last month, saying the merger did not actually raise competition concerns in the UK. citing Microsoft’s growing suite of cybersecurity products as one reason. Indeed, Microsoft is beefing up its Defender-branded cybersecurity offerings for both consumers and enterprises—earlier this summer, the company launched Microsoft Defender for individuals across all major desktop and mobile platforms, while launch a standalone version of Microsoft Defender for Business.
According to the CMA, these products – along with services from rivals such as cyber security stalwart McAfee – mean everyone has become less dependent on NortonLifeLock or Avast.
“In recent years, Microsoft has improved its built-in security suite so that it now offers protection that is as good as many of the products offered by dedicated vendors,” CMA wrote in his final assessment today. “In addition, the applications recently released by Microsoft for its customers bring its cybersecurity offerings closer to those of the merging businesses and are likely to further strengthen Microsoft as a competitor in the future.”