NAI sells Sniffer line, changes name to McAfee

Network Associates Inc. Thursday announced plans to sell its Sniffer network management technology in a US$275 million cash deal and rename the company McAfee Inc., in line with its plans to focus on security.

Sniffer, a name synonymous with network management, will be sold to Silver Lake Partners and Texas Pacific Group, two private equity firms that intend to form a stand-alone company under the name Network General Corp. The original Network General was founded in 1986 and was acquired by McAfee Associates in 1997 to create Network Associates. The new Network General will focus exclusively on network and application performance products, and the Sniffer employee base and management team will join that company.

"We intend to increase investment in the strong Sniffer Technologies base. We are committed to a smooth transition," Ken Hao, a managing director at Silver Lake Partners, said in a statement.

Network Associates said in a statement the newly named McAfee, Inc. will focus its efforts on its two security product lines: McAfee System Security Technologies and McAfee Network Security Technologies. The business will consists of the enterprise anti-virus and intrusion prevention security technologies.

According to preliminary financial reports from the company, Network Associates announced first-quarter earnings of US$0.32 per share and sales of US$217 million. The newly named McAfee grew 11 percent year over year in revenue, while bookings grew 32 percent year over year.

The name change will take effect after it closes the sale of its Sniffer operations, expected in the third quarter.

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