Page last updated at 09:55 GMT, Thursday, 9 October 2008 10:55 UK

Norton Antivirus firm buys rival

Norton Antivirus product box
Symantec is keen to expand in the growing cloud computing market

US anti-virus software firm Symantec has agreed to buy web security firm MessageLabs for $695m (401.2m).

Best known for its Norton range of PC security software, the move is set to allow Symantec to expand its internet services business.

MessageLabs produces security products for instant-messaging, e-mail and the internet.

Subject to regulatory approval, the firms hope the deal will be completed by the end of the year.

Analysts welcomed the acquisition, but some were cautious about Symantec's prospects in the face of global economic problems.

MessageLabs, which has regional headquarters in the UK, US and Australia, has more than eight million end users at more than 19,000 businesses.

California-based Symantec provides online backup, storage, and remote access products, which makes it possible for clients to access information and applications on their PCs from any location where there's web access.

Symantec said the deal would enable the two companies to cross-sell to each others customers.

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