Intel last night announced it is spinning off its security software business - just six years after buying it - restoring the McAfee brand in the process, capping off what one analyst dubbed an "insane" day.
If the latest Apple iPhone 7 launch and Dell-EMC merger weren't enough, Intel yesterday confirmed it is selling a 51 per cent stake in its security arm to private equity house TPG.
However, the McAfee name will be resurrected as part of the spin-off, which will see Intel retain a 49 per cent stake in a newly formed, jointly owned cybersecurity venture. TPG will pay Intel $3.1bn in cash for the majority stake and the deal has an equity value of $4.2bn.
Rik Ferguson, chief technology officer at rival security vendor Trend Micro, was among those to draw attention to the branding U-turn on Twitter.
The announcement comes two months after reports first emerged that Intel was eyeing a security exit, a development welcomed by some of its reseller partners.
TPG said it will pump $1.1bn in equity into the venture to "help drive growth and enhance focus as a standalone business". It claims to have a track record in growing profitable software companies.
Having flogged its next-generation firewall business to Websense last October, Intel Security focuses on end-point and cloud security, as well as actionable threat intelligence, analytics and orchestration.
In the first half, Intel Security saw operating profit almost quintuple year on year to $182m on revenues up 11 per cent to $11bn. It claims to protect more than 250 million end-points and secure nearly two thirds of the world's largest 2,000 firms.
The collapse of the PC market has forced Intel to cut 12,000 staff and restructure this year, but, despite the spin-off, CEO Brian Krzanich claimed security remains "important in everything we do at Intel".
TPG co-CEO Jim Coulter added: "We believe that McAfee will thrive as an independent company. With TPG's investment, along with continued support from Intel, McAfee will sharpen its focus and become even more agile in its response to today's rapidly evolving security sector."
The fact the news came on the same day as several other landmark announcements in the tech world didn't escape Patrick Moorhead, president of tech analyst Moor Insights & Strategy.
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