[ISN] Network Associates Up For Sale, Sources Say

From: InfoSec News (isn@private)
Date: Tue Jun 22 2004 - 03:58:53 PDT

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    By Dan Neel
    Jun. 21, 2004 
    Network Associates is for sale, and Microsoft is rumored to be the
    The maker of McAfee antivirus and security products has not made it
    public, but a "for sale" sign figuratively hangs from Network
    Associates' front door, according to Wall Street sources and channel
    A public announcement concerning either the pending or closed sale of
    the company to a buyer could come as early as July 1 when Network
    Associates also plans to announce layoffs associated with the
    company's for-sale status, these sources said.
    Network Associates executives declined to comment and would neither
    confirm nor deny that the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company is for
    sale or planning layoffs.
    Network Associates' reseller partners across the United States said
    more than a few of the company's field representatives have recently
    begun circulating resumes. "A lot of [Network Associates] salespeople
    have opened up feelers for where they are going to land," one partner
    Some Network Associates employees gave partners July 1 as the date
    Network Associates planned to execute the layoffs. The partners asked
    to remain anonymous.
    Microsoft enters the picture as a potential buyer based on the
    Redmond, Wash.-based software giant's desire to ascend to a level in
    the security market competitive with Network Associates rivals such as
    Symantec, Computer Associates International and Trend Micro, sources
    Microsoft is armed with a number of antivirus tools for Windows and is
    rolling out a next-generation application layer firewall, a VPN and a
    Web cache solution. But possession of Network Associates' extensive
    intellectual property would complete a security offering for Microsoft
    that could go head-to-head with Symantec, CA, Trend Micro and others.  
    Microsoft representatives said it was policy not to comment on the
    company's acquisition plans.
    Still, Microsoft may also be the only willing buyer, Wall Street
    sources said, as few companies with the wherewithal to purchase
    Network Associates are interested.
    It appears that Network Associates has been grooming itself to fit the
    bill for an acquisition by Microsoft, many Network Associates partners
    One partner, who is also a veteran of the Digital Equipment
    Corp./Compaq merger, said the signs coming from Network Associates are
    similar to that of pre-merger DEC, citing Network Associates' sale of
    its PGP encryption product line, its Gauntlet firewall business and
    most recently its Sniffer network monitoring division. The partner
    said Network Associates' downsizing was exactly what DEC did in order
    to fit within Compaq. "It was a divestiture of all the things Compaq
    didn't want," the partner said.
    The sudden, announced departure of Donna Troy, Network Associates'
    executive vice president of worldwide channel sales, and the sudden,
    unannounced departure of Gary Brand, director of channel sales, each
    resonated with partners as signs of impending change.
    At Network Associates' recent Partner Symposium in San Antonio
    partners were repeatedly encouraged to make sure their product
    licensing was up to date, another sign that the company was trying to
    set its house in order prior to a sale, partners said.
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