A public signoff from McAfee

Contact: Brenon Daly

After nearly two decades in some form or another as a public company, McAfee all but certainly reported its quarterly results to Wall Street for the final time on Tuesday morning. The company’s sale to Intel is expected to close in the coming weeks, a deal that will bring the largest stand-alone security vendor under the ownership of the largest semiconductor maker. For 2010, McAfee reported sales of $2.1bn and cash from operations of $595m. It didn’t hold a conference call because of the imminent close of its sale to Intel. (We suspect that the company won’t miss that quarterly ritual.)

The unexpected acquisition, which received our Golden Tombstone award as the most significant transaction of last year, was supposed to have already closed. When the $7.7bn deal was announced in mid-August, the companies indicated that they expected it to close before the end of 2010. It got overwhelming clearance from McAfee’s shareholders in early November, with 1,500 ‘yes’ votes for every one ‘no’ vote. US regulators signed off on the transaction in December.

But it took another month for European regulatory authorities to give their blessing – and they did so only conditionally. Among other things, Intel had to assure the European Commission that it won’t prevent other security providers from working on its chips and that the vendors will be able to use ‘functionalities’ of Intel’s products in the same way that McAfee is able to. While Intel may not be thrilled about making concessions to the EC, at least the six-month-old deal isn’t getting bogged down there. Remember that it took Oracle some nine months to close its purchase of Sun Microsystems, largely because of European regulatory concerns.