McAfee could go private in $14bn deal

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McAfee’s short spell on the public stock market seems to be ending, as the antivirus company could be going private once again. 

As reported by Reuters, global private equity firm Advent International, together with a handful of other parties, is negotiating a buyout of the company, reportedly worth more than $14 billion, including debt.

Reuters cited two people “briefed on the negotiations,” who said the negotiations were in advanced stages.  McAfee currently has total debt of roughly $4 billion, which would put its equity value at more than $10 billion. Advent International aside, other names mentioned in the report include private equity firm Permira; Canadian pension plan CPP Investment Board; Crosspoint Capital; Abu Dhabi Investment Authority; and Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC.

At press time, neither the company nor its potential investors have commented on the news. 

Shares reacting to the news

The market, however, voiced its opinion pretty loudly, with the company’s shares shooting up more than 20%, putting McAfee’s total value at $10.9 billion.

McAfee’s history has been as colorful as that of its founder, John McAfee. First established in 1987, it quickly rose to become one of the world’s most popular antivirus software providers. In 2010, Intel bought it for $7.7 billion, and six years later, sold a 51% stake to private equity firm TPG Capital for $4.2 billion.

In 2017, TPG sold part of its stake to private equity firm Thoma Bravo, and three years later, McAfee organized an Initial Public Offering (IPO), raising $740 million, which it used to repay debt.

Earlier this year, it sold its enterprise business to Symphony Technology Group for $4 billion, and paid a $4.5 per share special dividend to its shareholders. 

Should the deal come through, it would be one of the largest acquisitions made this year.

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Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.