Shares in McAfee Inc. rose today on news that its CEO and its president were leaving the company and that its stock-options investigation discovered accounting problems that will necessitate financial restatements of as much as $150 million over a ten-year period.
The view of analysts and investors is that the conclusion of McAfee’s internal investigation into stock-option irregularities will allow the company to focus entirely on its business and might pave the way for the company to be sold, either to a private-equity firm or to a large public company looking to acquire a significant presence in the computer-security market.
Hewlett-Packard has been mentioned as a possible buyer of McAfee, but HP also has been cited in connection with a possible takeover of Check Point, a well-established vendor of network firewalls and VPNs.
As reported by the Associated Press, JP Morgan analyst Sterling Auty wrote in an investor note that a possible acquisition of McAfee is “the main reason for support to the stock.”
As noted here earlier today, rumors have swirled for the past couple months that McAfee might be acquired by a private-equity firm. If the for-sale sign is posted outside McAfee’s headquarters, there is a possibility that a competing bid from a publicly listed company will emerge as a counter bid to any private proposal.