By Jason Hovet
PRAGUE (Reuters) – Avast Software, maker of the world’s most popular computer antivirus program, will need a year to absorb its $1.3 billion buy of rival AVG but may seek further acquisitions before an expected flotation, its chief executive said in an interview.
Prague-based Avast closed its purchase on Friday of AVG Technologies, another software firm with Czech roots specializing in consumer security.
The combined company will have over 400 million users and 40 percent of the consumer computer market outside of China.
While Avast will delist AVG shares, it has its own plans to eventually offer shares, maybe as soon as 2019.
Before that, it must fully integrate AVG and will then look at mid-tier acquisitions for its push into mobile and, possibly, to expand its small- and medium-sized business offering.
“We have to digest AVG first and that is going to take us pretty much all of 2017 to really integrate. Then we will look at expanding the business after that,” Avast CEO Vincent Steckler said.
“If we do something else to bulk up the company it would be substantive and I expect it would be in the hundreds (of millions of dollars).”
Avast had long sought to tie up with AVG, which also started around 25 years ago as then-Czechoslovakia shifted to free markets after decades of communism.
The new Avast, which will still offer both brands, will have combined revenue of more than $700 million in 2016. The bulk of that will come from its consumer products, but it wants to grow its income from the mobile and business sectors.
The tie-up, the biggest deal in company history, will give Avast heft to compete with the likes of Microsoft or McAfee, part of Intel Security.
Steckler said the company would avoid recognizable names when it seeks acquisitions in future but said potential targets would be bigger than start-ups.
He said future deals would look at growing the company’s mobile business outside the United States, where it already has a good presence. On the business side, it could concentrate on adding network security solutions.
(Editing by Adrian Croft)