(Bloomberg) — Symantec Corp., one of the world’s largest cybersecurity companies, agreed to buy LifeLock Inc. for about $2.3 billion including debt to expand in services for identity protection.

The offer for LifeLock values its shares at $24 apiece, according to a Business Wire statement. The offer is 16% above Friday’s closing price. The Tempe, Ariz.-based company was pursued by bidders including private equity firms Permira, TPG and Evergreen Coast Capital, the new buyout arm of hedge fund Elliott Management, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named because the process is private.

Bloomberg/file photo

Symantec, the maker of Norton antivirus software, has been re-orientating its business more heavily toward cybersecurity, acquiring Blue Coat Inc. from Bain Capital this year in a $4.65 billion deal. Earlier in the year, Mountain View, California-based Symantec sold data storage unit Veritas to Carlyle Group LP for $7.4 billion.

“With the combination of Norton and LifeLock, we will be able to deliver comprehensive cyber defense for consumers,” Symantec Chief Executive Officer Greg Clark said in the statement. “This acquisition marks the transformation of the consumer security industry from malware protection to the broader category of digital safety for consumers.”

LifeLock has been working with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. on the potential sale for several months, people with knowledge of the process said earlier this month. The company provides a range of identity-theft protection services for consumers and small businesses, including credit monitoring and alerts, according to its website.

Shares of LifeLock have risen 45% through Friday, giving it a market value of about $1.95 billion.

“Cybersecurity has become so critical to have and it’s only going to drive valuations higher,” said Bryce Boland, chief technology officer for the Asia Pacific region at FireEye Inc.

Elliott’s activist investing arm unveiled a stake in LifeLock in June and owns about 11% of the company. Another Elliott activist target —Mentor Graphics Corp. — agreed to be acquired by Siemens AG for $4.5 billion in a deal announced Nov. 14.

Evergreen Coast Capital, Elliott’s recently formed private equity arm, had jointly bid for LifeLock with another buyout partner, two of the people said. In its debut buyout deal, Evergreen agreed in June to acquire Dell Inc.’s software unit in partnership with Francisco Partners Management.

Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. are serving as co-lead financial advisers to Symantec’s board, according to the statement.

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