McAfee expected back after expected Intel spin-off

McAfee expected back after expected Intel spin-off

McAfee is back in business by itself.

Intel plans to announce Tuesday that it has spun off its security unit as a standalone company. That unit was established at Intel when the chipmaker purchased anti-virus software maker McAfee in 2011. Intel renamed the business Intel Security three years later, but now that the business is going off on its own again, it will reclaim its old name.

The spin-off will allow both Intel and McAfee to work at their own pace and focus on what each does best, said Steve Grobman, who will be McAfee’s chief technology officer.

Intel’s product development efforts are very “methodical,” Grobman said. By contrast, “when we see new threats, we need to be able to develop new technology very rapidly and get it into consumers’ hands as rapidly as possible.”

As a standalone business, McAfee plans to move from offering software that protects individual devices to trying to offer technology that offers broader coverage, he said. With the number of devices connected to consumers’ networks growing — particular with growing adoption of Internet of Things gadgets — so too are security threats, Grobman said. The company is already working with modem and network equipment makers to get its software installed on their devices.

“We’re moving to be all about protecting consumers’ overall digital life,” he said.

In addition to its consumer business, McAfee offers security software for companies. In that business, the company is hoping to offer a kind of modular system where customers can add different protections to a base security platform. The company also plans to make its software work with that of other security companies, he said. That’s a reflection of how many networks are configured today.

Santa Clara-based Intel announced plans last September to sell a majority stake of its security business to investment firm TPG. TPG agreed to pay Intel $1.1 billion and assume about $2 billion in the security business’ debt to gain a 51 percent stake in the unit. At the close of the deal, Intel will own 49 percent of McAfee.

The security company will remain based in Santa Clara. Chris Young, who has been heading up the unit under Intel as a senior vice president and general manager, will be McAfee’s new CEO.

The standalone company will have 7,500 to 8,000 employees, Grobman said. McAfee plans to hire a “fairly significant” number of employees after the spin-off to staff administrative positions, he said.

Intel acquired McAfee in 2011 for about $6.7 billion. The security business has seen relatively flat sales in recent years, although its operating profit grew 88 percent in 2016 year compared with the year before.

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Published at Tue, 04 Apr 2017 07:01:42 +0000