AVG Technologies: Security Company to Be Acquired?

Is AVG Technologies about to shift from a buyer mode to a seller mode? Could be. The security software company, which has been acquiring SMB and cloud technology companies, could be sold over the next few months, according to The Wall Street Journal. While I wouldn't call this an outright auction, The Journal coverage suggests to me that someone at AVG is trying to pull more companies into the potential bidding process. 

The Journal claims AVG has attracted takeover interest from private equity firms and perhaps one technology company. The talks sound like they're in the preliminary stages. If a buyout happens, it could take several months to materialize, The Journal suggested.

AVG Technologies has spent the past couple of years evolving from a freemium anti-virus company toward the SMB software and cloud markets. But the transition has involved a few bumps. The 2013 buyout of Level Platforms involved some customer losses and recent layoffs, though sources say AVG has since stabilized that business.

More recently AVG in Sept. 2014 acquired Location Labs for $140 million to $220 million (based on two-year performance goals). Location Labs offers a security platform for mobile operators that's preinstalled on Android phones. Sources tell After Nines Inc. that AVG has been evaluating the market for additional cloud-delivered security services.

Still, AVG on Nov. 5 slightly cut its Fiscal Year 2014 earnings guidance -- which suggests the company is still having challenges with its shift from freemium antivirus security to more fully featured mobile and SMB solutions. 

Now comes word that AVG has been approached by potential buyers. The big question: Did AVG leak that information in order to bring more potential bidders to the table? I'm betting absolutely yes.

The situation is especially timely in the SMB market. Thousands of channel partners are set to attend IT Nation 2014 in Orlando next week. At the conference, covered closely by MSPmentor (my previous stomping ground), I suspect potential AVG buyout chatter will be a topic of conversation in the halls. 

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