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The McAfee brand is back again after Intel finalizes spin-off

Daniel Howley
Technology Editor
Intel has finalized a deal to spin of its security unit, which will once again be called McAfee (Reuters)

McAfee is going solo again. After existing as a sub-brand of Intel (INTC) for the past seven years and being rebranded as Intel Security, the company best know for that little shield logo in your computer’s toolbar has finalized its split from the chipmaker and will now be run as an independent organization.

Intel purchased the antivirus organization for $7.68 billion in 2010. At the time, the chipmaker hoped to fold McAfee’s security capabilities into Intel’s chips to better protect consumers’ devices.

In the first half of 2016, the security company’s revenue grew 11% to $1.1 billion. But with Intel’s decision to restructure in April 2016, eliminating 12,000 jobs to turn its focus toward cloud computing, keeping the security brand didn’t seem to make sense.

“As a standalone company with a clear purpose, McAfee gains the agility to unite people, technology and organizations against our common adversaries and ensure our technology-driven future is safe,” said McAfee CEO Chris Young.

McAfee founder John McAfee is now chairman and CEO of MGT Capital Investments. (image: MGT Capital Investments)

The spinoff finalizes Intel’s deal announced in 2016 to sell 51% of its stake in the McAfee security unit to the asset manager TPG in a deal worth $4.2 billion. Intel will still have a 49% stake in the standalone McAfee company.

What’s most interesting about the move is the decision to bring back the McAfee name. Intel purchased the security company as McAfee in 2010, but rebranded as a result of founder John McAfee’s various run-ins with the law including being named as a person of interest in the death of his neighbor in Belize and a DUI arrest during which he was found in possession of a handgun.

But the McAfee brand name is already incredibly popular, despite what its namesake might be up to.

Adding to the mess is the fact that John McAfee himself is suing Intel for the use of his name. McAfee wants to rename MGT Capital Investments, Inc., where he currently serves chairman and CEO, John McAfee Global Technologies, Inc. The suit is still pending.

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Email Daniel at dhowley@yahoo-inc.com; follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley.