McAfee could be changing hands again. The Wall Street Journal today reported that TPG Capital, Intel and Thoma Bravo have met with bankers to discuss an initial public offering (IPO) through which they hope to raise up to $1 billion on a roughly $5 billion valuation.
This wouldn't be the first time McAfee changed its ownership structure. The company initially went public in 1999 and was publicly traded until Intel acquired it for $7.6 billion in 2010. Intel then sold 51% of the company to TPG Capital with a $4.2 billion valuation in 2016, and TPG Capital brought Thoma Bravo on as an investor in 2017, although Intel maintained ownership of 49% of the independent company.
And McAfee wouldn't be the first tech company to ping-pong between the public and private markets. Dell recently did the same thing: founder Michael Dell took his namesake company private in October 2013 with a $25 billion buyout, spent a few years addressing its problems and then decided to take it public once again by listing it on the New York Stock Exchange in December 2018. So there's precedent there.
The Wall Street Journal's report is preliminary, though, and many of the details could change. Bankers could value the company less than its owners would like--which would most likely result in less than $1 billion raised--and changes in the market could result in delays to the IPO.
At least for now, the report seems to indicate that tech companies still believe the stock market is on their side. That's why many tech startups have gone public or revealed plans to do so over the last few years. McAfee is damned near the furthest thing one could get from being a startup, but that won't stop TPG Capital, Intel and Thoma Bravo from capitalizing on investors' renewed interest in tech.