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Intel Ponders Selling its Security Unit

Chip giant Intel is pondering the sale of its Intel Security unit, according to the Financial Times.

Intel (INTC) bought McAfee six years ago for $7.9 billion, its biggest purchase up till then. It rechristened that cybersecurity unit as Intel Security a few years later to put distance between that business and the misadventures of McAfee founder John McAfee.

A big part of the rationale for the deal was to bake McAfee’s anti-virus and security expertise into Intel’s chips, especially in the mobile and tablet market where Intel has struggled.

Just a few weeks ago, Intel chief executive Brian Krzanich told Fortune that, while Intel has no shopping list per se, it is willing and able to make acquisitions going forward. But it’s also been selling off assets. In January, for example, Intel sold its Stonesoft next-generation firewall business to Raytheon-WebSense (RTN), three years after acquiring it for $389 million.

Intel to Sell Stonesoft

Cybersecurity companies are hot, hot, hot in this age of corporate data theft and other digital misbehavior. Just weeks ago, Blue Coat Software nixed a planned initial public offering to be aquired by Symantec, a pioneer in anti-virus, for $4.65 billion. That was after private equity firm Bain Capital bought Blue Coat from Thoma Bravo last year for $2.4 billion.

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Intel declined to comment.