McAfee, the antivirus software pioneer, is going private again in a $14 billion sale to an investor group led by private-equity firms Advent International and Permira.
The consortium is paying $26 a share in cash for
(ticker: MCFE), which went public just a year ago, marking a 22.6% premium to its $21.21 share price on Friday. The transaction is valued at $14 billion, including the repayment of debt. On an equity basis, the deal, which is expected to close during the first half of 2022, is valued at $12 billion, a statement from the companies said.
The transaction includes a 45-day so-called go-shop period that allows McAfee’s board and its advisors to seek alternative offers from third parties. Go-shops, however, rarely result in higher bids, mainly because the parties lack time to conduct due diligence.
“This transaction is a testament to McAfee’s market-leading online protection solutions, our talented employees, and outstanding customers and partners,” Peter Leav, McAfee president and CEO, said in the statement. He said McAfee is pleased to be working with companies that understand the cybersecurity landscape and have a record of success.
Other members of the investor group include the private-equity firm Crosspoint Capital Partners, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, and the sovereign-wealth funds GIC Private and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.
McAfee’s sale comes as the Covid-19 pandemic caused businesses across the U.S. to go remote, spurring a need for cybersecurity and antivirus software.
“McAfee is one of the most trusted brands in the essential business of consumer digital protection,” Bryan Taylor, head of Advent’s technology investment team and a managing partner, said in the statement. He said Advent sees opportunities to build on McAfee’s technology as consumers face new and complex cybersecurity risks.
(INTC) and the private-equity firm TPG Capital, which represent the majority of McAfee voting power, are selling their stakes to the Advent-led group and have agreed to vote in favor of the sale, according to the statement. The two companies account for about 65% of the voting power, according to a person familiar with the matter.
John McAfee founded the company that bore his name in the 1980s. During the 1990s, McAfee software was the industry leader in helping protect consumers and businesses from threats such as hackers. In 2011, Intel took McAfee private in a $7.68 billion deal, and in 2017, TPG bought a 51% stake in a transaction valued at $4.2 billion.
McAfee returned to the public markets in October 2020 in an initial public offering that raised $740 million. During its debut, McAfee shares fell nearly 7% from the $20 offering price. The stock soared to a year high of $30.64 in August but has since dropped 16%, trading Monday at $25.63. McAfee had about $4 billion in long-term debt as of Dec. 26, according to regulatory filings.
“We’re proud that today McAfee is a leading consumer cybersecurity franchise, protecting the digital lives of 20 million subscribers across the globe,” Jon Winkelried, CEO of TPG and chair of the McAfee board, said in the statement. Winkelried noted that over the past four years, the company has expanded its portfolio of products, improved its marketing strategy and done strategic deals, including the divestiture of its enterprise business.
John McAfee left the company in the 1990s. He was found dead in a Spanish prison cell earlier this year after Spain’s National Court ruled in favor of extraditing the software executive to the U.S. over tax charges, according to the Associated Press.
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