Symantec, one of the world’s largest cybersecurity companies, agreed to buy LifeLock for about US$2,3bn (R33,2bn) including debt to expand in services for identity protection.
The offer for LifeLock values its shares at $24 apiece, according to a Business Wire statement. The offer is 16% above Friday’s closing price. The Tempe, Arizona-based company was pursued by bidders including private equity firms Permira, TPG and Evergreen Coast Capital, the new buyout arm of hedge fund Elliott Management, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named because the process is private.
Symantec, the maker of Norton antivirus software, has been re-orientating its business more heavily toward cybersecurity, acquiring Blue Coat from Bain Capital this year in a $4,6bn deal. Earlier in the year, Mountain View, California-based Symantec sold data storage unit Veritas to Carlyle Group for $7,4bn.
“With the combination of Norton and LifeLock, we will be able to deliver comprehensive cyber defence for consumers,” Symantec CEO Greg Clark said in the statement. “This acquisition marks the transformation of the consumer security industry from malware protection to the broader category of digital safety for consumers.”
LifeLock has been working with Goldman Sachs Group on the potential sale for several months, people with knowledge of the process said earlier this month. The company provides a range of identity-theft protection services for consumers and small businesses, including credit monitoring and alerts, according to its website.
Shares of LifeLock have risen by 45% through to Friday, giving it a market value of about just shy of $2bn.
Elliott’s activist investing arm unveiled a stake in LifeLock in June and owns about 11% of the company. Another Elliott activist target — Mentor Graphics — agreed to be acquired by Siemens for $4,5bn in a deal announced on 14 November.
Evergreen Coast Capital, Elliott’s recently formed private equity arm, had jointly bid for LifeLock with another buyout partner, two of the people said. In its debut buyout deal, Evergreen agreed in June to acquire Dell’s software unit in partnership with Francisco Partners Management. — (c) 2016 Bloomberg LP