Nortonlifelock is acquiring free antivirus provider Avast for over $8 billion. The merger promises to create a mega IT security brand devoted to protecting half a billion consumers from both companies.

With this combination, we can strengthen our Cyber Safety platform and make it available to more than 500 million users.We will also have the ability to further accelerate innovation to transform Cyber Safety.

Norton Lifelock CEO

The board of Avast also agreed to the acquisition, which will result in a combined company pulling in $3.5 billion in annual revenue.Through our well-established brands, greater geographic diversification and access to a larger global user base, the combined businesses will be poised to access the significant growth opportunity that exists worldwide.

NortonLifeLock, which was previously known as Symantec, has been selling  paid  security and anti-identity theft products while Avast has been offering both free and paid antivirus software. The merger combines Avast’s strength in privacy and NortonLifeLock’s strength in identity, creating a broad and complementary product portfolio, beyond core security and towards adjacent trust based solutions.

What the new company will be called remains unclear. But it’ll operate through dual headquarters at NortonLifeLock’s offices in Arizona and Avast’s operation in the Czech Republic. The deal is expected to close mid-2022, per regulatory approval. Assuming the merger goes through, Avast’s CEO will become NortonLifeLock’s new president.