Symantec Buys Identity Protection Company LifeLock for $2.3 Billion

Symantec CEO looks to grow the capabilities of company's consumer and enterprise business units.

Symantec announced on Nov. 21 that it is acquiring identity protection vendor Lifelock, in a deal valued at $2.3 billion. The deal is expected to close in the first calendar quarter of 2017 and will pay Lifelock shareholders $24 per share.

The goal of the acquisition is to help grow Symantec's consumer business, while providing new sources of intelligent security technology for Symantec's enterprise business as well.

The deal is the second major acquisition announced by Symantec in 2016, following the June acquisition of Blue Coat for $4.65 billion.

"With the Blue Coat acquisition, Symantec embarked on a transformation of its enterprise business to build an integrated cyber-defense platform," Greg Clark, CEO of Symantec said in a call with press and analysts. "Symantec is now transforming its consumer business by announcing an agreement to acquire Lifelock, the leader in identity protection services with over 4.4 million highly satisfied members."

Clark was previously the CEO of Blue Coat and became the CEO of Symantec after the acquisition closed in August. The intention after the deal closes is for there to be cross-selling opportunities with Norton's sales teams selling Lifelock to consumers.

Lifelock has over 4.4 million customers and protects user identities with a number of technologies that will also be a benefit to Symantec. Clark explained that Lifelock has a proprietary data model and a large Big Data set to which it applies machine learning algorithms looking for anomalous behavior, enabling identity protection.

"We are excited about potential insights these algorithms can provide working with Symantec's extensive threat knowledge, Clark said. "This is a meaningful addition to Symantec's threat telemetry."

With the acquisition of Lifelock, Clark said that Symantec's combined consumer protection platform will protect users from threats and alert users to suspicious activity. He added that Symantec also has data recovery technologies that will enable consumers to recover when an endpoint or an identity becomes compromised.

"We think that digital safety is something that really resonates with consumers," Clark said.

During the press and analyst call, Clark was asked why Symantec decided to buy an identity protection technology rather than build its own. Clark commented that Symantec has, in fact, been working on and thinking about identity protection technology for consumers for a long time.

"We did recently announce an identity protection product," Clark said.

That product was called Norton Identity Protection and it will be replaced with Lifelock when the deal closes. Clark said that the value of Lifelock's intellectual property and customer base made it an attractive acquisition that will enhance the Norton consumer brand.

Clark was also asked during the press and analyst call about Symantec's ability to focus on integrating both Blue Coat on the enterprise side and now Lifelock on the consumer side of the business. Clark emphasized that the business operations of Symantec's enterprise and consumer units are separate. He added that Symantec's management is confident about progress already made on the Blue Coat integration and would not be acquiring Lifelock if that wasn't the case.

Overall, in Clark's view the consumer business can also help to extend the company's enterprise technologies as well.

"We have a lot of focus on enterprise, but I want to point out that consumer is a very important piece of our strategy," Clark said. "We get a ton of threat telemetry from the massive number of consumer probes we have and that benefits our enterprise customers."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.