The historic security software company McAfee Corp. has just announced that it has reached an agreement with a group of investors who will acquire the company for a whopping $14 billion.
The investors are mainly private equity firms such as Advent International Corp., Permira Advisers, and Crosspoint Capital Partners, as well as the sovereign wealth funds of Singapore (GIC) and Abu Dhabi (Adia).
When the sale closes during the first half of 2022, those investors will acquire all of the company’s shares at a price of $26 per share, 22.6% higher than McAfee’s Nov. 4 closing share price of $21.21.
Peter Leav, the company’s CEO, said the deal is a consequence of the “leadership of its products” and the “talent of its employees”…
…although the fact that the company posted a net profit of 2,592 million dollars, an 83-fold increase over the same period last year, has undoubtedly also influenced the investors’ decision.
This acquisition comes at a time when the rise of remote work and cyber-attacks on businesses has increased the demand for antivirus
What has become of McAfee in recent years?
Now, the first consequence of this operation is that McAfee will no longer be listed on the stock exchange a little more than a year after returning to the public markets. That return had taken place in October 2020, shortly after selling its McAfee Enterprise division (which brought together its corporate business) to Symphony Technology Group and announcing that it would continue its operations as a consumer cybersecurity company.
The company was founded in 1987 by the tremendously controversial John McAfee (who died a few months ago in a Barcelona prison), with the eponymous antivirus as its flagship product.
Despite the departure of its founder in 1994, it retained its name as a brand, even when it was acquired in 2010 by Intel.
However, after two years in which John McAfee chained several highly mediatic legal controversies (starting with a flight to Belize when they tried to interrogate him for the murder of a neighbor), Intel announced its intention to move away from it by progressively replacing McAfee brand with ‘Intel Security’.
After that, in 2016, Intel decided to ’emancipate’ Intel Security, whereby a company was created of which Intel retained only 49% of the shares… and which regained the McAfee brand.