Intel Security has sold its majority stake in McAfee, which will now resume operations under its original name.
The re-launch of McAfee marks the closing of the previously announced investment by TPG and Intel Corporation (INTC) to establish a pure-play cyber-security company.
Additionally, McAfee announced that leading private equity investment firm Thoma Bravo has joined as a minority investor in the company through an agreement with TPG. As previously announced, Intel is retaining a 49 percent equity stake in the new entity.
Raj Samani, the newly appointed chief scientist of McAfee spoke with SC Media UK on the company's renewed vision and purpose coming from the newly appointed CEO, Chris Young.
Promoting a unified approach to security, Young wishes to encourage the idea that “together is power”, according to Samani. McAfee is still wanting to “disrupt”, and is said to be looking to the future, wanting to secure connected cars and ensure the Internet of Things doesn't bring everything crashing down.
“Cyber-security is the greatest challenge of the connected age, weighing heavily on the minds of parents, executives and world leaders alike,” said Christopher Young, CEO of McAfee. “As a standalone company with a clear purpose, McAfee gains the agility to unite people, technology and organisations against our common adversaries and ensure our technology-driven future is safe.”
Like many security vendors, McAfee says it wishes to become the “number one security partner”.
Samani confirmed despite his title, though he doesn't work wearing a white lab coat, and is now in charge of technical planning and strategy for the company. “Just don't call me Heisenberg,” joked Samani.
Samani, an active participant of the information security community, confirmed he will continue his work on No More Ransom, a non-profit initiative he started with the Dutch Police,Europol and Kaspersky, working to help decrypt and recover the files of victims which suffer a ransomware infection.
The initiative has helped save US$ 3 million from being paid to criminals, and the project is still going strong. “There's a healthy pipeline of announcements coming in the second quarter of 2017 on that side of things,” Samani said.
SC questioned Samani on the decision to keep the McAfee brand, which is often associated with John McAfee, the original founder of the company who sold it over 20 years ago, who has since made some dubious comments about security. Samani said despite this, the brand still carries recognition within the security industry saying, “people still know us as that brand”.
Amusingly, the McAfee name will also live on through the silver screen, as Johnny Depp is expected to play John McAfee in ‘King of the Jungle', which portrays the rise and fall of the McAfee empire.
However, on the company front, Seth Boro, a managing partner at Thoma Bravo emphasised, “McAfee is a global organisation with a 30-year history and a brand known the world over for innovation, trust and collaboration. Given our years of focus on the security software sector, we see great opportunity for McAfee to continue to advance and innovate,” adding, “Our deep sector knowledge and history of helping build successful businesses will be an asset to the company, and we look forward to working with the management team and our colleagues at TPG and Intel to guide McAfee through its next chapter of growth.”