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Intel to Buy Finland’s Stonesoft for $389 Million in Cash

Intel to Buy Finland’s Stonesoft for $389 Million in Cash
Signage for McAfee Inc. hangs inside the lobby at company headquarters in Santa Clara, California. Photographer: Tony Avelar/Bloomberg

Intel Corp., the world’s largest chipmaker, offered to buy Finland’s Stonesoft Oyj for $389 million in cash to expand the product offering of its McAfee security-software business.

Stonesoft investors will get 4.50 euros ($5.90) a share, more than double the May 3 closing price, the companies said today, sending the stock soaring. Stonesoft Chief Executive Officer Ilkka Hiidenheimo, Chairman Hannu Turunen and Timo Syrjaelae, a board member, who together hold 34.7 percent of shares, accepted the offer. The Helsinki-based company’s board recommends the deal.

The purchase would let McAfee expand its network-firewall and evasion-prevention offerings as it competes against rivals such as Symantec Corp. Santa Clara, California-based Intel bought McAfee in 2011 for about $7.7 billion to add security software to its chip-making arsenal.

“The mega-trend for cyber security isn’t showing any signs of slowing down as you’re always hearing about some corporation being hacked,” said Mikael Rautanen, an analyst at Inderes Oy in Helsinki. “Stonesoft has the potential to see strong growth so this is a pretty good deal for Intel, and the offer price makes it a good deal for Stonesoft shareholders.”

Stonesoft shares more than doubled, rising as high as 4.48 euros and closed at 4.45 euros in Helsinki trading. They had jumped 42 percent this year through May 3. Intel slipped 0.1 percent to $23.93 at 12:49 p.m. in New York.

Rising Sales

The deal’s premium of 128 percent over the May 3 closing price compares with an average premium of 96 percent in 51 computer-security deals over the past 12 months, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Stonesoft, founded in 1990, shed assets and scaled back its product range during the past decade as sales waned amid increasing competition. For 2012, the company reported 31 percent increase in sales to 40.1 million euros and earnings of 1 cent a share. Last month, it projected sales growth of 50 percent for this year. The company had 265 workers at the end of March.

The acceptance period for the offer is scheduled to start on May 21 and run for three weeks.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is advising Intel and UBS AG is assisting Stonesoft.

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