The long and winding history of cybersecurity software company McAfee took another interesting twist today when an investor consortium consisting of six investment firms announced that they were purchasing the company for $14 billion.
That purchase amount is based on a stock price of $26 per share, which the company said represented a 22.6% premium on the stock's closing price last Thursday. It's worth noting that stock closed up 20% on Friday, giving it a market cap slightly over $11 billion as of the close of markets on Friday.
The consortium consists of Advent International, Permira Advisers, Crosspoint Capital Partners, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, GIC Private Limited and a wholly owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. Advent and Permira led today's acquisition, according to the company.
With McAfee, the investment group gets a consumer security company that has existed in various forms since 1987. The company sold its enterprise arm earlier this year to Symphony Technology Group for $4 billion.
While McAfee is long in the tooth, it still has a growing consumer security business. In its most recent earnings report, also announced today, the company reported net revenue of $491 million, up 24% year over year, with 640,000 new subscribers for a total of over 20 million subscribers, certainly an impressive number, and one that had to attract the attention of the members of the investor group.
Brian Ruder, co-head of technology at Permira, pointed out that the acquisition comes at a time when security is a big concern in the consumer market. “The need for personalized, innovative, and intuitive online protection services has never been greater," he said in a statement. He added that his company also liked the brand recognition, partner network and loyal customer base. He believes his company can leverage its experience working with companies like McAfee to take advantage of these positive traits and scale the company further.
The investor group companies will each be providing financial and operational resources. How that will work isn't completely clear. The company will certainly have a lot of bosses to deal with. It's worth noting that McAfee built in a "go shop" provision into the deal, a fairly common practice that gives it 45 days to find a better price. While that is an unlikely outcome, the provision provides shareholders with some proof the company got the best deal it could for them.
As I wrote during the time of the McAfee enterprise sale in March, the company has a complicated history, moving between public and private, and at one point even changing its name:
The company has a complex history, starting life in the 1980s selling firewall software. It eventually went public before being purchased by Intel for $7.7 billion in 2010 and going private again. In 2014, the company changed names to Intel Security before Intel sold a majority stake to TPG in 2017 for $4.2 billion and changed the name back to McAfee.
The acquisition still has to pass muster with McAfee shareholders, as well as various regulators, but if it is able to clear those hurdles, the deal is expected to close in the first half of next year. The stock was up 0.57% this morning on the news.