Intel continued its push into the integrated software market yesterday, announcing a $7.68 billion (€5.9 billion) acquisition of security software firm McAfee.
The chip-maker said the deal would help it make security a core component of online computing, by building McAfee’s security features into its chips for mobile phones and other devices.
The boards of both firms green lighted Intel’s offer of $48 per share for McAfee’s common stock – a price some 60% higher than its value at the close of trading Wednesday, the BBC reported.
It hopes to launch the first McAfee-enabled silicon early 2011, but must first gain the approval of the software firm’s shareholders and competition regulators, the BBC added.
Ovum analyst Graham Titterington said regulators could oppose the purchase.
“Clearly there is a risk of monopolistic concerns damaging the market,” he said, noting that the deal was reminiscent of Microsoft's and Intel's Trusted Computing Alliance project in 2002, which was stifled by “competitive concerns.”
Intel said the deal would allow it to take a new, integrated approach to security.
Paul Otellini, president and CEO of the firm, said chip security will become as important a feature to consumers as power and performance, as the broad spectrum of internet-capable products mean “more and more of the elements of our lives have moved online.”
McAfee CEO Dave DeWalt said millions of new cyber security threats were appearing every month, noting that the “cyber threat landscape has changed dramatically over the past few years.”
The deal is Intel’s latest in the software space, following its purchase of Wind River in June 2009.
Gartner predicts the global security software market will generate revenues of $16.5 billion in 2010.
Intel’s Nasdaq stock rose 3 cents in after-hours trading to 18.93. The share price was off 3.52% during the day, closing at 18.90.