McAfee Eyes Return to Public Markets With Potential IPO Listing

According to unnamed sources cited by the Wall Street Journal, cybersecurity firm McAfee may be preparing for a return to the public markets with an IPO listing later this year. The anti-virus software company, which is currently owned by private equity firm TPG Capital and Intel, could expect to raise $1 billion at a $5 billion valuation, according to the Journal.

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If McAfee does indeed go through with a planned IPO listing, it would do so in a year that has be unusually active for tech IPOs. The first half of the year saw the highest volume of such offerings in almost two decades as companies like McAfee are experiencing a boost in investor interest. For example, cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike—known for its Falcon cloud security platform—successfully went public in May and has seen its share price double following its IPO.

McAfee first went public in a $75 million IPO in 1999 and remained in active trading until Intel bought the company for $7.6 billion in 2011 and rebranded it Intel Security. In 2016, Intel sold a 51 percent stake to TPG for $3.1 billion, giving McAfee an enterprise value of just $4.2 billion; the jointly-owned company returned to the McAfee name. Private equity firm Thoma Bravo acquired a minority stake in the company the following year.

However, in recent year, McAfee has successfully boosted its cash flows thanks to strategic acquisitions and changes to its overall business strategy under current CEO Chris Young. The company acquired both VPN provider TunnelBear and cloud-security firm Skyhigh Networks last year.

The recent boost in cash flow and the influx of new capital provided by an IPO could mean that Intel—which still holds 49 percent of McAfee—could finally make money on the deal.

While the Wall Street Journal’s unnamed sources indicated that TPG and Intel are seriously looking into an IPO listing, they say that a sale to a private buyer (including Thoma Bravo) is also a possibility. TPG declined to comment in response to the Wall Street Journal’s report, and McAfee did not respond to requests for comment.