Prague: Avast Software, maker of the world's most popular computer antivirus protection, doesn't see any obstacles to completing its $1.3 billion acquisition of AVG Technologies but it will probably delay its expected IPO until 2019.
Prague-based Avast, whose software has more than 230 million users, announced on July 7 that it plans to buy AVG for $25 per share, a 33 per cent premium to the previous day's closing price. It expects to complete the deal by around the end of September.
Avast CEO Vincent Steckler told Reuters that he saw no obstacles to completing the AVG deal but the work involved in integrating its competitor would probably push back any plans for a long-anticipated stock offering.
The company had previously said it could consider selling shares as early as 2017.
"We will really focus on building up mobile and building up the SMB (small and medium-sized business) and corporates and that is why there might be another acquisition eventually to help that area," Steckler said in an interview.
"So I would say this acquisition has delayed an IPO by a year-plus. 2018 would probably be the earliest it would be a consideration; 2019 would be much more likely."
Avast has long looked to tie up with AVG, another software company with Czech roots started around a quarter-century ago as the central European country shifted to free markets after decades of communism.
The purchase will give Avast heft as it competes with the likes of Microsoft, which at 15 percent is nearly neck-and-neck with Avast in global market share for antivirus applications, according to statistics firm Statista.
Steckler said this was the fourth time in three years that Avast had made an unsolicited offer for AVG, which will continue to run as a standalone brand after the acquisition.
The combined company, which will have more than 400 million users, would initially derive about 70 per cent of revenue from its consumer products, mainly paid subscriptions for its software and fees earned from search providers. The rest will come from the mobile and business offers, which it wants to grow faster.
"I think we need to get closer to 50-50 (revenue) split before we have a good story in the US stock markets," Steckler said.
Avast pulled a planned stock listing in 2012 due to market conditions. In 2014, CVC Capital Partners bought a stake in Avast that valued the company at $1 billion. Steckler estimated the value of the firm has since doubled.
Avast earned revenue of around $285 million in 2015, with a margin on earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of 69-70 per cent. The company forecasts revenue to grow 15-17 per cent in 2016.
Steckler said Avast's consumer business grew around 19 percent in the first half of 2016 while AVG's stagnated, although the rival has stronger mobile performance.
"We have got a (revenue) core to really stabilise the company and throw off a lot of cash, and then the future is basically mobile," he said.