Network Associates, known from its McAfee anti-virus software, announced they are going to sell its Sniffer family of network management software. Another important statement is that they are going to rename to McAfee.
The Sniffer assets will be sold for $275m to Silver Lake Partners and Texas Pacific Group. Sniffer will be converted into a new standalone company called Network General. Network General will continue developing, supporting and marketing the Sniffer products.
They expect the sale will be closed in the third quarter of this year, and around that time Network Associates will change their name to McAfee.
It considered McAfee to be a better known, more powerful brand than Network Associates, said George Samenuk, the company's chairman and chief executive.
Network Associates also expected to report net revenue of $217m for its first financial quarter.
The goal of the changes is to streamline the company around security products and boost operating margins to 25% by mid-2005, Samenuk said. To achieve that goal, Network Associates is also rearchitecting its back-end systems and revamping its channel programme.
The Sniffer products, which are used by businesses to manage the performance of networks and applications, had not been meeting targets for profit and growth, Samenuk said.
They are the company's last remaining products not related to security, after it sold its Magic line of help desk and management products to BMC Software late last year.
"It's our goal to minimise as much as possible the transition issues faced by our Sniffer customers. Most of the large McAfee customers are also Sniffer customers, so we want [the new company] to be wildly successful," Samenuk said.
The Sniffer group employed between 450 and 500 people, or 15% of Network Associates' workforce, and the majority will become part of Network General. The change will reduce Network Associates' revenue by about $200m this year.