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TPG, the alternative-asset manager that oversees $70 billion, agreed to acquire a majority stake in Intel Corp.’s computer-security unit in a deal that values the business at $4.2 billion including debt.

Growing cybersecurity threats have boosted interest in M&A for companies that provide protection through software and monitoring. Accenture (NYSE:CAN) is adding Redcore; Thoma Bravo purchased Bomgar; Vista Equity Partners has acquired Regulatory DataCorp Inc.

TPG will own 51 percent of the company, known as McAfee, while Intel will have a 49 percent stake in the spin-out, according to a statement. The company will be led by chief executive officer Chris Young, currently a senior vice president at Intel and general manager of its security unit.

Intel is offloading the anti-virus software unit as part of a strategy to focus on its more profitable data-center business. The Santa Clara, California-based chipmaker acquired McAfee in 2011 for $7.7 billion to build security features directly into its silicon products.

The business had $1.1 billion in revenue in the first half of 2016, an 11 percent increase from the same period in 2015, Intel said in the statement. Operating income more than quadrupled to $182 million.

Intel had also been talking to other potential suitors, including buyout firms and corporate suitors, people familiar with the matter said last week, naming TPG as a likely bidder.

“We have long identified the cybersecurity sector, which has experienced strong growth due to the increasing volume and severity of cyberattacks, as one of the most important areas in technology,” Bryan Taylor, a partner at TPG, which has its main offices in San Francisco and Fort Worth, Texas, said in the statement. “We see a compelling opportunity to invest in a highly strategic platform that is growing consistently.”

TPG, led by co-CEOs Jim Coulter and Jon Winkelried, will invest $1.1 billion in the transaction, valuing McAfee’s equity at $2.2 billion, according to the statement. The company has net debt of about $2 billion, which Intel will finance for three to five months after the deal is completed. The companies expect the transaction to close in the second quarter of 2017.

After acquiring McAfee, Intel struggled to grow the unit and integrate it with its bread-and-butter chips business. Some private equity firms that spoke with Intel about potentially acquiring the division were wary about its growth rate and their ability to cut costs further than Intel had, the people with knowledge of the discussions said.

The security business was started by John McAfee in 1987 and has sold anti-virus software to companies and individuals. It was renamed Intel Security in 2014.

John McAfee is suing Intel for the right to use his name in his new ventures. He leads MGT Capital Investments Inc., which he wants to rename John McAfee Global Technologies Inc.

“Intel should wait to see whether they have any right to use my name,” McAfee said in a text message after the deal with TPG was announced. TPG will make the investment from its TPG Partners VII fund, which finished gathering $10.5 billion in May.

--Additional reporting by Mergers & Acquisitions' Demitri Diakantonis

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