Security software expert Symantec has gone on a spending spree.

The US company, which is best known for its Norton Antivirus software, is going to buy its rival MessageLabs for a reported $695m (£401.2m).

Symantec says that the move means that it will be able to expand its range of internet-based security services, as MessageLabs produces security products for instant-messaging, email and the Internet.

And it will also take on MessageLabs’ eight million end users, which are based at more than 19,000 businesses.

The deal is now waiting for regulatory approval, but both companies are hopeful that it will be signed and sealed by the end of the year.

There is no news as to whether the deal will affect MessageLabs’ staff, which are based in regional headquarters in the UK, US and Australia.