McAfee exiting the enterprise security market

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Cybersecurity company McAfee has announced that it is divesting its business branch. The company wants to focus completely on its consumer products.

The business unit will become part of Symphony Technology Group. A press release on that company’s website states that Symphony will transfer 4 billion dollars to McAfee for the sale. This currently corresponds to just under 3.4 billion euros. The acquisition is to be completed by the end of 2021.

No clear reason for the sale

It is not clear why McAfee is selling its business branch. McAfee CEO Peter Leav only has this to say about it: “STG is the right partner to continue strengthening our Enterprise business, and this outcome is a testament to the business’ industry-leading solutions and most notably to the outstanding contributions of our employees. This transaction will allow McAfee to singularly focus on our consumer business and to accelerate our strategy to be a leader in personal security for consumers.”

William Chisholm, Managing Partner at STG, sees a future in McAfee’s business branch. “McAfee is one of the most iconic brands in enterprise security and has a reputation for innovation, quality and leadership. We are fully committed to driving the business’ strategy to be the leading device-to-cloud cybersecurity company by partnering with McAfee’s existing world-class team to continue delivering exceptional performance to enterprises and government clients globally.”

Future for consumer business?

McAfee entirely focusing on the consumer business is striking. In the consumer world, the company made a name for itself in the Windows XP era and continues to build on that momentum. Windows as a whole has become a lot more secure and now features free built-in antivirus software, so fewer users are turning to McAfee for their virus protection.

A large proportion of McAfee’s sales come from trial versions on new computers. When the trial period ends, the user receives warning messages that the computer is no longer protected and a subscription must be cancelled. In this way, many people are still persuaded to buy the software without considering the alternatives.

Acquisitions and divestitures

Symphony Technology Group clearly sees more future in the business branch than McAfee. The private equity firm deals with a broad portfolio of different markets. Last year, the company acquired RSA Security from Dell. McAfee also has experience with acquisitions and divestitures. The company was acquired by chip manufacturer Intel in 2014, but was split off again three years later to continue independently.