GIC in consortium to buy cyber-security firm McAfee for over $18.9 billion

The sale is the latest episode in the history of the company founded by cyber-security pioneer John McAfee in 1987, the namesake of the antivirus software.
The sale is the latest episode in the history of the company founded by cyber-security pioneer John McAfee in 1987, the namesake of the antivirus software.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - US cyber-security firm McAfee announced on Monday (Nov 8) that it will be sold to a group of investors for more than US$14 billion (S$18.9 billion), just over a year after going public.

The consortium led by Advent International Corporation and Permira Advisers will pay about US$12 billion in cash to acquire all of McAfee's outstanding shares, with the cost rising to more than US$14 billion when the company's debt is added.

The investor group also includes Crosspoint Capital Partners, Canadian pension fund CPP Investments, Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC and a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority sovereign wealth fund.

The sale is the latest episode in the history of the company founded by cyber-security pioneer John McAfee in 1987, the namesake of the antivirus software.

The firm once went public in 1992, then again in 1999 following a merger, before Intel bought it for about US$7.7 billion and delisted it in 2011.

Following an integration process that observers viewed as fraught, Intel in 2016 then spun McAfee off from its core business, keeping a large stake but handing control to investment company TPG Capital.

McAfee returned to the stock market again in October 2020, taking advantage of a buoyant atmosphere for the cyber-security industry.

After several years of back-to-back losses, the company seems set to return to profitability this year.

The company's name remains associated with that of its founder, who died last June at the age of 75 in a Spanish prison where he was awaiting extradition to the United States over tax fraud charges.

The entrepreneur and programmer, who before his death had become a kind of guru of cryptocurrencies, resigned from the company in 1994.