Intel Sells 51% of McAfee in Deal With TPG

The chip giant is spinning off its computer security business to allow McAfee to become an independent company again.
Matthew HellerSeptember 9, 2016

After five years under Intel’s wing, McAfee will become an independent entity again through a deal in which private-equity firm TPG will acquire a majority stake in the computer security provider.

The transaction values McAfee at $4.2 billion including debt, considerably less than the $7.6 billion that Intel paid in 2011 as it diversified from its core business of designing computer chips. TPG, which is making a $1.1 billion equity investment, will own 51% of McAfee, with Intel retaining a 49% stake.

In the first half of 2016, Intel’s security division generated $1.1 billion in revenue, up 11% on the year-ago period, but analysts have generally viewed the acquisition of McAfee as a disappointment.

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“As we collaborate with TPG to establish McAfee as an independent company, we will also share in the future success of the business and in the market demand for top-flight security solutions, creating long-term value for McAfee’s customers, partners, employees and Intel’s shareholders,” Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said in a news release.

McAfee is best-known for antivirus programs that protect personal computers hard wired to corporate and personal networks. But as The New York Times reports, “The explosion of smartphones, tablets and laptops, all wirelessly connected to cloud computing systems, has changed the [security] industry. PC sales have shrunk for five years, too, changing Intel’s business plans.”

In the security area, Intel has moved into other varieties of software aimed at preventing hackers from breaking into corporate networks. Jeff Pollard, an analyst with Forrester, told Forbes that McAfee is emerging from Intel with a gutted portfolio and its service offering has lost ground to competitors.

“McAfee is in need of direction and a turnaround,” he said.

TPG has a track record of successful tech deals and recently invested in internet security company Zscaler and information technology vendor Tanium.

“Unlike those smaller investments in relatively new technology providers, McAfee gives entree to a host of corporate customers and a platform to make additional and potentially larger deals in cybersecurity,” The Wall Street Journal said.