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Network Associates Sells Sniffer, Changes Name To McAfee

Network Associates late Thursday said it is selling its unprofitable Sniffer network management and analysis product line as part of a sudden restructuring and is changing its name to McAfee.

The changes are part of a cost reduction plan aimed at accelerating sales and profits by focusing solely on security products and services, said Network Associates Chairman and CEO George Samenuk.

"This company is engaged in the most aggressive and important transformation in its history," said Samenuk. "These changes will transform us into a more powerful, more profitable and more competitive company for the future." Network Associates shares closed up 3 percent on Thursday to $19.75.

The Sniffer product line will be sold to Silver Lake Partners and Texas Pacific Group for $275 million in cash. As part of the deal, approximately 450 to 500 employees will move to a new company that the acquirers intend to form called Network General. Network General will continue to develop, support and sell Sniffer products. Network Associates will officially change its name to McAfee when the sale of Sniffer is completed later this year.

In a conference call with analysts, Samenuk said the company may also use its nearly $1 billion in cash to buy additional security products. "We are still looking for acquisitions that would bolster our security business and fill in some holes," he said.

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