NordVPN and Surfshark merge, continuing VPN consolidation trend

Surfshark and NordVPN are merging but will continue to operate independently.

NordVPN and Surfshark have finalized a merger agreement between the two VPN providers, the companies announced Wednesday. While details of the transaction are not being released, the finalized merger agreement follows months of negotiations between the two companies that began in mid-2021, according to a joint press release issued by Surfshark and Nord Security. , the parent company of NordVPN.

Surfshark and NordVPN were rivals in the ultra-competitive VPN (virtual private network) market prior to the merger, but are now partnering to “consolidate the two companies’ offerings in different market segments and diversify geographic reach,” according to the press release. More and more consumers have turned to VPNs in recent years to counter increasingly invasive digital tracking by search engines, ISPs and advertisers, as well as to circumvent local content restrictions and censorship.

But the merger of two of the biggest names in the industry — both of whom have long been among CNET’s top VPN picks — highlights the continuing trend of consolidation in the VPN industrythat finds more brands under the umbrella of just three big companies – Kape TechnologiesTesonet and Ziff Davis – making it more important than ever to understand which entities ultimately control the data sharing and privacy policies that underpin VPNs.

The merger announcement follows news just days ago that Surfshark was developed with the help of Tesonet, the same Lithuanian business incubator that helped NordVPN get started. While the Tesonet-NordVPN relationship was already known, the ties between Tesonet and Surfshark had not previously been disclosed. That changed last week after a report on Lithuanian news site Verslo žinios.

Responding to this report, Surfshark Communications Manager Dominykas Dimavičius said “…Surfshark was not developed with NordVPN because it’s a completely different company. Even though we operate from the same country, NordVPN is our competitor. The news of the merger reverses that statement, although the companies will continue to operate independently and “rely on separate infrastructure and product roadmaps,” according to the press release.

Asked how the merger affects the companies’ respective data and privacy policies, Dimavičius told CNET that Surfshark is “legally obligated not to share any information between the entities that violates our terms of service.” of use or our Privacy Policy, so we have no plan in doing so without notifying our customers in advance.”

Surfshark CEO and Founder Vytautas Kaziukonis said market consolidation is a sign of the industry’s maturity, but acknowledges there are challenges ahead. “Nord Security and Surfshark are joining forces to set the stage for scale in different dimensions of digital security, which is necessary to meet the growing demands of our customers.”

Meanwhile, Tesonet and Nord Security co-founder Tom Okman hopes the merger will help establish the companies as an “internet security powerhouse”.

“The growing complexity of cybersecurity and digital privacy is a growing challenge around the world. We believe this industry requires radical simplification and ease of access for both consumers and businesses,” Okman said. .

Yet for consumers, the ongoing consolidation means that fewer and fewer companies are finally having access to and controlling your data. no-logging policies notwithstanding – not to mention a diminished incentive for competitive pricing. Surfshark had a well-deserved reputation for providing a comparable experience to Nord at a lower cost. It will be interesting to see what the pricing and data policies look like in the coming months, once the two brands reach the same track record.

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