Network Associates Inc. officials denied Wednesday that they are actively looking to sell the company—to Microsoft Corp. or anyone else.
NAI recently has shed all of its nonsecurity business units, agreeing to sell both its Sniffer and Magic divisions, while choosing to focus on its new intrusion prevention strategy. This trimming of the product line and head count has led to rampant speculation within the security industry for several months that NAI executives are readying the company for sale.
Microsoft is one of the companies, along with IBM and Computer Associates International Inc., that is mentioned most often in these discussions, and a published report earlier this week claimed that the Redmond, Wash., software colossus was on the verge of buying NAI. But company officials said that was not the case.
"Theres no truth to it. Were not in discussions with Microsoft or any other company. Were not considering any offers to buy Network Associates," said Jennifer Keavney, a spokeswoman for NAI, based in Santa Clara, Calif. "Its just not true."
NAI, like most public companies, makes it a policy not to comment on rumors concerning potential acquisitions. But, because the Microsoft rumor had taken on a life of its own—to the point where it affected both companies stocks on Tuesday—NAIs top executives decided it was best to respond to the speculation.
Meanwhile, company executives continued to be upbeat about NAIs future prospects. Speaking at an investors conference Tuesday in Nantucket, Mass., George Samenuk, CEO of Santa Clara, Calif.-based NAI, said that the company is moving ahead with its strategy, and should be completely debt-free by the end of the summer. He added that the company on July 1 will be losing another 500 employees, who will be moving with Sniffer to the new Network General Corp., which was formed by a group of investors to run the Sniffer business.
"The divestiture really transforms McAfee to higher levels of profitability and revenue than weve had since Ive been here," Samenuk said.