McAfee to be taken private by Advent-led group in $14 billion deal

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Cyber security firm McAfee holds a virtual IPO at NASDAQ Marketsite

(Reuters) -McAfee Corp said on Monday a consortium led by U.S. private equity firm Advent International will take the cyber security company private in a $14 billion deal.

The deal comes as a pandemic-driven shift to remote working and a rise in cyber attacks have spurred demand for antivirus and digital security software.

The company, founded by U.S. technology entrepreneur John McAfee in 1987, was the first to bring to market a commercial antivirus. Intel bought it in 2011, when McAfee himself no longer had any involvement.

In the last few years, McAfee has strengthened its main cybersecurity software business that focuses on retail customers via price increases, new partner programs and good retention rates.

As part of the transaction, the investor group will acquire all outstanding shares of McAfee common stock for $26 per share in an all-cash deal that values McAfee at about $12 billion on an equity basis.

The purchase price represents a premium of 22.6% over McAfee's closing share price of $21.21 on Nov. 4, the last trading day before the Wall Street Journal reported about the deal talks.

Shares, of the San Jose, California-based company, which made its market debut last year, were down more than 3% at $25.36 in premarket trading, slightly below the offer price.

In a similar deal in August, U.S. cybersecurity company NortonLifeLock Inc had agreed to buy London-listed rival Avast Plc for up to $8.6 billion to create a leader in consumer security software.

The Advent-led consortium also includes private equity firms Permira Advisers LLC, Crosspoint Capital Partners and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board among others.

Goldman Sachs & Co LLC and Morgan Stanley & Co LLC are the financial advisers to McAfee.

(Reporting by Tiyashi Datta in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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