Symantec Bets $2.3B on Identity Theft Protection

The maker of Norton antivirus software is acquiring LifeLock in a move to further diversify its computer security offerings.
Matthew HellerNovember 21, 2016
Symantec Bets $2.3B on Identity Theft Protection

Symantec, a leading provider of computer security products, has agreed to acquire identity protection service LifeLock for $2.3 billion in its latest move to diversify from its core antivirus software business.

The combination of the companies will create the world’s largest consumer-oriented online protection enterprise, according to Symantec, which will integrate LifeLock into its Norton product line.

Symantec estimates the worldwide digital safety market is worth $10 billion, with annual growth in the high single digits and a total addressable market of 80 million people in the U.S. alone.

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“People’s identity and data are prime targets of cybercrime,” Symantec Chairman Dan Schulman said in a news release. “The security industry must step up and defend through innovation and vigilance.”

“With the acquisition of LifeLock, Symantec adds a new dimension to its protection capabilities to address the expanding needs of the consumer marketplace,” he added.

The deal, which was announced Sunday, values LifeLock at $24 a share, a 16% premium to its closing price on Friday. The company has more than 4.4 million subscribers.

“Together with Symantec we can deploy enhanced technology and analytics to provide our customers with unparalleled information and identity protection services,” LifeLock CEO Hilary Schneider said.

Symantec has been branching out from malware protection into cybersecurity to boost sagging sales. In June, it bought Blue Coat Systems for $4.65 billion in a deal to expand its offerings on the cloud.

Revenue for Symantec’s consumer-product division declined 4% to $405 million in the most recent quarter. “With the LifeLock acquisition, Symantec expects its consumer division to return to growth,” The Wall Street Journal said.

LifeLock charges consumers $10 per month for its identity-theft protection services. Last year, it agreed to pay $100 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it violated a 2010 court order to stop deceptive advertising practices.

In trading Monday, LifeLock shares rose 15.2% to $23.90, while Symantec was up 4.8%, at $23.89.