Intel is spinning off its McAfee virus protection subsidiary, creating an independent cybersecurity company that will continue to sell products under the McAfee name.
Intel agreed to acquire McAfee for $7.68 billion almost exactly seven years ago, when the mobile device era was still in its infancy. Its goal was to remake the company, once a household name for PC security, into a peddler of protection for every Internet-connected device.
McAfee continued to make PC security software, but also branched out with product offerings like LiveSafe, which protects nearly every Windows, Mac OS, Android, and iOS device, and whose antivirus capabilities rated highly in PCMag’s tests.
But McAfee’s transformation under Intel largely failed to convince the smartphone-wielding public that it needed cybersecurity protection for more devices. Most people’s first visit to the app store is likely to download Facebook, not virus protection.
So Intel will rid itself of the McAfee experiment—though it will continue to own 49 percent of the company—in a transaction valuing the business at approximately $4.2 billion. Private investment firm TPG will own the other 51 percent.
Current Intel senior vice president Christopher Young will lead the newly-independent McAfee. In an open letter to investors, employees, and customers, he explained that his company will continue to offer multiple-device security suites.
“We have the right strategy and product portfolio to stay ahead of the adversaries who undermine our digital world,” he wrote. “In the end, McAfee will emerge in a position of greater strength, still fully committed to being the best provider in the cybersecurity industry worldwide.”