McAfee ‘to go private in $14bn deal’

Antivirus software firm McAfee is in advanced talks to go private in a $14 billion deal, according to sources originally reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The sources said the deal is led by Boston-based private equity firm Advent International, which reports $75 billion under management.

Private equity firm Permira, Canadian pension plan CPP Investment Board, Crosspoint Capital, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, and the Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC are also set to join the acquisition according to the reports.

The deal gives the San Jose, California company a valuation of around $10 billion, or $25 per share, and the deal is set to include the company’s $4 billion of debt.

The antivirus firm’s stock rose 20 per cent following the news in Friday trading.

The sources said talks could still fall apart but that they could also be announced within days.

McAfee has only been a publicly listed company since October 2020.

The news comes McAfee-founder John McAfee was found dead in a prison cell in Barcelona in June.

McAfee’s body was found just hours after a Spanish court ruled that the controversial anti-virus entrepreneur and cryptocurrency entrepreneur should be extradited to the US to face tax evasion charges.

US private equity firms have been active in terms of buying public software firms this year.

In September, UK robotic process automation (RPA) software company Blue Prism agreed to a £1.1 billion takeover by US private equity firm Vista Equity Partners.

The cybersecurity space has also seen significant activity in terms of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity during 2021.

In August, US cybersecurity firm NortonLifeLock agreed to buy EU-based cybersecurity firm Avast at a valuation of between $8.1 billion and $8.6 billion.

“We are not able to provide a response at this time,” said a McAfee spokesperson.

Representatives for Permira, Crosspoint, and the largest McAfee shareholder, TPG, did not issue comments on reports.

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