Report: Intel Eyeing Options For Potential Sale Of Intel Security

Intel is eyeing its options when it comes to Intel Security, according to a report Sunday, including a potential sale of the security division.

According to the Financial Times report, Intel recently has been in talks with bankers about options for the future of Intel Security. The report did not specifically name any companies Intel would consider a sale to, although any deal likely would fetch a large price tag.

It is not clear from the report if a deal would involve the sale of pieces of the former McAfee antivirus business or the entirety of Intel Security.

[Related: Q&A: Intel Security Head Updates On New Strategy And How It Fits Into Intel Reorganization]

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Intel Security declined to comment.

Intel, Santa Clara, Calif., broke out financials for the Intel Security group for the first time in its most recent earnings call. Intel Security’s revenue for the first quarter of 2016 was $537 million, up 12 percent year over year. Intel revenue overall for the quarter was $13.7 billion, meaning Intel Security accounted for a little less than 4 percent of company sales.

McAfee had annual revenue of $1.93 billion when Intel acquired it for $7.7 billion in 2010.

Mark Miller, partner at M&S Technologies, a Dallas-based Intel Security partner, said in an email that he wasn’t surprised by the report, as Intel ’never really seemed to mesh with McAfee.’

Miller said Intel had a great opportunity to invest in the McAfee portfolio and extensive talent base through acquisitions and organic development, but didn’t necessarily make the most of that opportunity.

’I think Intel had the best of intentions, and they brought in some great people like Chris Young [senior vice president and general manger of Intel Security], but I think this was not the explosive growth they had hoped for. Looks to me like they want to focus on their core business [and] chips,’ Miller said.

The potential Intel Security sale report comes on the heels of a rapid period of consolidation in the security space, including among some of the industry’s largest legacy security vendors. Most recently, Symantec said this month that it planned to acquire cloud and web security vendor Blue Coat Systems for $4.65 billion.

The report also comes at a time of deep change at Intel and Intel Security.

Intel said earlier this year that it planned to undertake a massive reorganization to home in on the data center and Internet of Things markets, and step away from a sluggish PC market. That reorganization would include around 12,000 job cuts.

Intel Security itself has also undergone a massive strategic shift in the last year. The new strategy, unveiled at the company's Focus event last fall, centered on providing solutions and security outcomes for the full threat-defense life cycle -- from protection to detection and correction. The shift involved the divestiture and end of life of multiple product lines in recent months.

That push was starting to drive bookings for some of the company's solutions, executives said at the company’s recent Partner Summit in Boca Raton, Fla.

Total bookings for Intel Security were up 12 percent year over year, with Advanced Threat Defense up 219 percent year over year, Threat Intelligence Exchange up 180 percent year over year, web up 33 percent year over year, server up 33 percent year over year, data protection up 30 percent year over year, and client up 7 percent year over year, executives said on stage.