McAfee itself recently bought mobile security specialist tenCube, highlighting the company's desire to lock down data on mobile devices and smartphones.
McAfee, which missed Wall Street's estimates in its recent second-quarter results, has felt the impact of an uncertain economy. Set against this backdrop, the company's stock has fallen more than 26% this year, which likely prompted Intel to finally pull the trigger.
The McAfee deal, however, is not cheap, and Intel is paying $48 for each share of McAfee -- a 60% premium on the software maker's Wednesday closing price. The deal could have major implications for other security companies, according to Macquarie analyst Zelnick.
"Given the premium paid, we expect there were likely multiple parties interested in McAfee, which further supports our positive view of security software, especially Symantec which is the most similar asset in the space," he wrote. "We expect this deal will bode well for Check Point Software (CHKP), Fortinet (FTNT), Blue Coat Systems (BCSI), ArcSight (ARST), and software overall."While there's plenty of renewed speculation bubbling up of Symantec as the next big security acquisition by a giant like Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Dell (HPQ) or IBM (IBM), the company presents challenges to these types of buyers. "Symantec has a lot of other stuff going on; McAfee is more of a pureplay device security company," said IDC's Del Prete, noting that Symantec is a much less attractive buy. There's also Symantec's major OEM deal with HP, which could make things complicated if Dell or IBM tries to buy it. McAfee could also place Intel in a more favorable position against its competitors, namely AMD (AMD). "Although we question the likely returns on the proposed acquisition, we believe that it can aid product differentiation to help bolster Intel's already-dominant market share," wrote Clyde Montevirgen, semiconductors analyst at Standard & Poor's Equity Research, in a note. "[McAfee] could make its chips more salable in markets in which it has little penetration." The deal is likely to pressure AMD to bolster its own product lineup -- or risk losing more market share to Intel in current markets as well as new ones (like mobile devices). Investors seemed to be following this line of thinking; AMD's stock dipped 18 cents, or 2.82%, to reach $6.39 in Thursday trading. McAfee shares surged $17.22, or 57.53%, to $47.15 and Intel dipped 51 cents, or 2.61%, to $19.08. -- Reported by James Rogers in New York Follow James Rogers on Twitter.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
24/7 market commentary from Jim Cramer and 20+ veteran Wall Street gurus. Get access to the latest trading ideas on stocks, options, and ETFs as well as a real-time forum to see the pros exchanging their investment ideas.
- Jim Cramer + 20 Wall Street pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Real-time trading forum
- Actionable trade ideas
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV