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Avast plays down closure of troubled data analytics business Jumpshot

The closure will cost between US$15mln and US$25mln but the impact was "limited"

Avast PLC - Avast to be hit by cyber attack consequences, data selling controversy

Avast PLC (LON:AVST) has shrugged off the impact of the closure of troubled data analytics business Jumpshot, which will cost between US$15mln and US$25mln.

"There was some limited impact but it has been constrained,” chief executive Ondrej Vlcek was reported as saying by Reuters.

He added there was a “slight increase” in product un-installs when the news broke but operations are now restored.

The division, closed in January, sparked controversy by selling anonymised data that could still allow buyers to find out people’s identity.

Companies such as Google and Unilever acquired data packages that included search engine queries, website addresses and the time they were visited.

While personal information such as names and email addresses were not part of these packages, an independent investigation found the data could be traced back to some individuals through cross-checks.

A spokesperson for the company said the UK authorities issued a ‘request for information’ under the Data Protection Act.

Analysts at Peel Hunt said full-year numbers could come at the lower end of guidance if Jumpshot is faced with fines and more negative media coverage.

The FTSE 250-listed firm expects to deliver organic mid-single-digit revenue growth more weighted to the second half, while adjusted underlying (EBITDA) margin is to remain flat.

The cybersecurity firm underwent a revision of its infrastructure following a cyberattack late last year, delaying the launch of one product to the last quarter of 2020.

In the year to 31 December, adjusted revenue rose 6% to US$873mln while profit before tax jumped 15% to US$400mln.

Total dividend was raised by 8% to US$14.7 cents per share.

Shares were flat at 413.6p on Wednesday morning.

--Adds detail, chief executive's quote--

Quick facts: Avast PLC

Price: 365.2 GBX

Market: LSE
Market Cap: £3.69 billion

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