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AVG eyes mobile security with Location Labs deal

The security firm says its planned acquisition of Location Labs will help drive its growing mobile-security efforts.

Location Labs offers phone controls that parents can use on their children's smartphones. Location Labs/Screenshot by CNET

AVG Technologies, the company behind the popular AVG security platform, has agreed to acquire Location Labs for up to $220 million, the companies announced Wednesday.

Location Labs has carved out a distinctive niche in mobile security. While many companies, including AVG, offer anti-malware platforms running on Android and iOS, Location Labs focuses on products that determine when, where, and how a phone gets used. The company's Phone Controls product, for instance, lets users see all activity on a device, as well as automatically locks it when kids are at school or shouldn't be online. It also includes an alerts function that tells users of questionable activities.

Beyond that, Location Labs has an automatic phone-locking product that recognizes when a device is moving and stops users from texting or doing hardly anything other than dialing 911 while driving. Location also offers a mobile-analytics platform, called Sparkle.

While AVG remained tight-lipped on its exact plans for Location Labs, it noted that the deal will aid its growth in mobile security. AVG says it has registered over 100 million downloads of its Android security app, and that figure continues to grow.

"AVG is acquiring Location Labs to accelerate its mobile monetization strategy, to innovate further on our existing products and develop new ones; to increase our user base by delivering online security for device, data and people; and to open up new avenues for revenue and success," the company told CNET in a statement Wednesday.

The terms of the deal between the companies allows for AVG to pay $140 million in cash once the acquisition closes. If Location Labs hits certain performance metrics, the company can earn another $80 million over the next two years.

The deal between AVG and Location Labs is subject to customary closing conditions and will likely close in the fourth quarter of 2014. Location Labs CEO Tasso Roumeliotis will head up Location Labs after acquisition.