Intel ‘inside’ of largest security acquisition

Contact: Brenon Daly

The largest stand-alone security company is no longer standing on its own. McAfee agreed Thursday to a $7.7bn all-cash offer from Intel. The bid of $48 for each share represents a 60% premium over the security vendor’s previous closing price – and the highest price for its shares since early 1999. Intel’s purchase represents a significant gamble that security can be hardened by pairing software with hardware, which will likely be even more important as the need for security expands from just computers to consumer electronics, datacenter equipment and other devices. Despite that rationale, Intel still struck most observers as a surprise buyer for McAfee, which had been linked in earlier rumors to Hewlett-Packard.

The deal stands as the largest security acquisition ever, nearly twice the size of the number two deal, Juniper Networks’ $4bn purchase of NetScreen Technologies in early 2004. (Juniper used equity to cover that transaction; its stock is currently at the same price it was when it announced that deal.) Interestingly, the banks on both of these mammoth security transactions were the same: Goldman Sachs had both sole buy-side mandates (for Juniper and, more recently, Intel) while Morgan Stanley worked the sell side (sole advisor for McAfee and co-advisor, along with JP Morgan Securities, on NetScreen).

Recent significant security transactions

Date announced Acquirer Target Equity value
August 19, 2010 Intel McAfee $7.7bn
February 9, 2004 Juniper Networks NetScreen Technologies $4bn
June 29, 2006 EMC RSA Security $2.1bn
August 23, 2006 IBM Internet Security Systems $1.3bn

Source: The 451 M&A KnowledgeBase