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    AVST   GB00BDD85M81

AVAST PLC

(AVST)
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Avast pulls plug on Jumpshot after data privacy scandal

01/30/2020 | 03:54pm EDT
The logo of Avast Software company is seen at its headquarters in Prague

British cybersecurity company Avast will close the Jumpshot analytics business at the centre of a data privacy scandal, it said on Thursday, putting hundreds of jobs at risk and deepening a slide in its shares.

Avast allegedly collected data on what many of its users did online and sent it to Jumpshot, which then offered to sell the information to clients, media reports said this week.

The company said on Wednesday it began a review of the Jumpshot business, a day after saying in a blog post https://blog.avast.com/our-commitment-to-responsible-data-use that "at no time have we sold any personally identifiable information to a third party".

Avast's shares closed down 13% on Thursday, after it said it would take a charge of $15-$25 million in 2020 in wind-down costs.

Jumpshot, which Avast started in 2015, analyses consumers' online habits by measuring their search, click and buy patterns across thousands of categories from over 150 websites, including Amazon, Google, Netflix, and Walmart, its website https://www.jumpshot.com/about shows.

Clients of Jumpshot include cosmetics maker Revlon, hotel search website Tripadvisor and chipmaker Intel.

Jumpshot and Avast have acted "fully within legal bounds", Avast Chief Executive Officer Ondrej Vlcek said in a blog post https://blog.avast.com/a-message-from-ceo-ondrej-vlcek, adding both companies were committed to full compliance with GDPR, Europe's rules on data protection.

Scrutiny of data-handling has risen as consumers become more aware of how their online activity is used by businesses and authorities scurry to strengthen regulations.

"Protecting people is Avast's top priority and must be embedded in everything we do in our business and in our products. Anything to the contrary is unacceptable," Vlcek said.

The decision to close Jumpshot was taken because the business does not fit into Avast's priorities for 2020 and beyond, he said, adding it would affect "hundreds" of employees.

Avast said it had cut Jumpshot's access to its data with immediate effect as it winds down the operation.

It did not give details on its plans for Jumpshot's management and employees, or what jobs it could cut. Avast did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

San Francisco-headquartered Jumpshot has five global offices and is led by a team of six, headed by Deren Baker.

The closure will not affect Avast's 2019 results, it said in a trading update, while forecasting mid-single digit growth in underlying revenue for the current year, excluding Jumpshot.

By Pushkala Aripaka


© Reuters 2020
Stocks mentioned in the article
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ALPHABET INC. 0.29% 2449.15 Delayed Quote.39.36%
AVAST PLC 0.81% 495.5 Delayed Quote.-8.47%
INTEL CORPORATION 0.87% 55.73 Delayed Quote.10.92%
NETFLIX, INC. 0.72% 516.77 Delayed Quote.-5.18%
TEAM, INC. 0.27% 7.33 Delayed Quote.-32.84%
TRIPADVISOR, INC. 1.33% 41.98 Delayed Quote.44.02%
WALMART INC. 0.74% 136.97 Delayed Quote.-5.68%
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Financials (USD)
Sales 2021 944 M - -
Net income 2021 312 M - -
Net Debt 2021 425 M - -
P/E ratio 2021 22,9x
Yield 2021 2,32%
Capitalization 7 077 M 7 077 M -
EV / Sales 2021 7,94x
EV / Sales 2022 7,22x
Nbr of Employees 1 699
Free-Float 60,3%
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Mean consensus BUY
Number of Analysts 16
Last Close Price 6,87 $
Average target price 8,05 $
Spread / Average Target 17,2%
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Managers and Directors
NameTitle
Ondrej Vlcek Chief Executive Officer & Director
Philip Antony Marshall Chief Financial Officer & Director
John G. Schwarz Chairman
Michal Pechoucek Chief Technology Officer
Jaya Baloo Chief Information Security Officer
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