John Paczkowski

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Intel Gets into Protection Racket, Buys McAfee for $7.7 Billion

Intel announced its largest acquisition to date this morning, and it has little to do with the chipset market it has dominated for decades.

The chipmaker said it has agreed to buy antivirus software company McAfee (MFE) in a $7.7 billion acquisition that will expand its security offerings. Under the terms of the deal, Intel will pay $48 a share in cash, a hefty 60 percent premium over McAfee’s Wednesday closing stock price of $29.93. Both companies’ boards have approved the deal, though it still requires approval from McAfee shareholders and regulators.

What does Intel (INTC) want with McAfee, a vendor of oft-maligned antivirus software? To embed some of the company’s security tools directly into Intel chips for “hardware enhanced security.” And secure another, steadier revenue stream, perhaps.

Anyway, the acquisition is Intel’s largest ever, easily surpassing its 1999 takeover of Level One for $2.2 billion. Once it closes, McAfee will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel, reporting to its software and services group.

“With the rapid expansion of growth across a vast array of Internet-connected devices, more and more of the elements of our lives have moved online,” said Intel President and Chief Executive Paul Otellini. “In the past, energy-efficient performance and connectivity have defined computing requirements. Looking forward, security will join those as a third pillar of what people demand from all computing experiences.”

And just like that Intel is a player in the security software and services market.

SANTA CLARA, Calif.–Intel Corporation has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire McAfee, Inc., through the purchase of all of the company’s common stock at $48 per share in cash, for approximately $7.68 billion. Both boards of directors have unanimously approved the deal, which is expected to close after McAfee shareholder approval, regulatory clearances and other customary conditions specified in the agreement.

“We believe this acquisition will result in our ability to deliver a safer, more secure and trusted Internet-enabled device experience.”
The acquisition reflects that security is now a fundamental component of online computing. Today’s security approach does not fully address the billions of new Internet-ready devices connecting, including mobile and wireless devices, TVs, cars, medical devices and ATM machines as well as the accompanying surge in cyber threats. Providing protection to a diverse online world requires a fundamentally new approach involving software, hardware and services.

Inside Intel, the company has elevated the priority of security to be on par with its strategic focus areas in energy-efficient performance and Internet connectivity.

McAfee, which has enjoyed double-digit, year-over-year growth and nearly 80 percent gross margins last year, will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Intel, reporting into Intel’s Software and Services Group. The group is managed by Renée James, Intel senior vice president, and general manager of the group.

“With the rapid expansion of growth across a vast array of Internet-connected devices, more and more of the elements of our lives have moved online,” said Paul Otellini, Intel president and CEO. “In the past, energy-efficient performance and connectivity have defined computing requirements. Looking forward, security will join those as a third pillar of what people demand from all computing experiences.

“The addition of McAfee products and technologies into the Intel computing portfolio brings us incredibly talented people with a track record of delivering security innovations, products and services that the industry and consumers trust to make connecting to the Internet safer and more secure,” Otellini added.

“Hardware-enhanced security will lead to breakthroughs in effectively countering the increasingly sophisticated threats of today and tomorrow,” said James. “This acquisition is consistent with our software and services strategy to deliver an outstanding computing experience in fast-growing business areas, especially around the move to wireless mobility.”

“McAfee is the next step in this strategy, and the right security partner for us,” she added. “Our current work together has impressive prospects, and we look forward to introducing a product from our strategic partnership next year.”

“The cyber threat landscape has changed dramatically over the past few years, with millions of new threats appearing every month,” said Dave DeWalt, president and CEO of McAfee. “We believe this acquisition will result in our ability to deliver a safer, more secure and trusted Internet-enabled device experience.”

McAfee, based in Santa Clara and founded in 1987, is the world’s largest dedicated security technology company with approximately $2 billion in revenue in 2009. With approximately 6,100 employees, McAfee’s products and technologies deliver secure solutions and services to consumers, enterprises and governments around the world and include a strong sales force that works with a variety of customers.

The company has a suite of software-related security solutions, including end-point and networking products and services that are focused on helping to ensure Internet-connected devices and networks are protected from malicious content, phony requests and unsecured transactions and communications. Among others, products include McAfee Total Protection™, McAfee Antivirus, McAfee Internet Security, McAfee Firewall, McAfee IPS as well as an expanding line of products targeting mobile devices such as smartphones.

Intel has made a series of recent and successful software acquisitions to pursue a deliberate strategy focused on leading companies in their industry delivering software that takes advantage of silicon. These include gaming, visual computing, embedded device and machine software and now security.

Home to two of the most innovative labs and research in the high-tech industry, Intel and McAfee will also jointly explore future product concepts to further strengthen security in the cloud network and myriad of computers and devices people use in their everyday lives.

On a GAAP basis, Intel expects the combination to be slightly dilutive to earnings in the first year of operations and approximately flat in the second year. On a non-GAAP basis, excluding a one-time write down of deferred revenue when the transaction closes and amortization of acquired intangibles, Intel expects the combination to be slightly accretive in the first year and improve beyond that.

Intel was advised by Goldman Sachs & Co. and Morrison & Foerster LLP. McAfee was advised by Morgan Stanley & Co. Inc. and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, P.C.


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