Intel wins FTC clearance for McAfee deal

LOS ANGELES Tue Dec 21, 2010 4:34pm EST

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Intel Corp has won approval from the Federal Trade Commission for its proposed $7.68 billion acquisition of security specialist McAfee Inc, the chipmaker said.

Intel said it was continuing to cooperate with the European Commission's review of the deal.

European Union officials appear concerned that McAfee could gain privileged access to security features on Intel's microprocessor chips, which could give McAfee an advantage over rivals, the Wall Street Journal reported last week.

"I'm not anticipating any trouble on that front," said Alex Gauna, an analyst with JMP Securities.

"My supposition here is that it is simply taking a bit more time overseas than here, and obviously Intel has had its recent wrangling with the European Union, which may be throwing just another dimension of complexity into the process," he said.

The EU levied a record fine of 1.06 billion euro ($1.39 billion) against Intel in May 2009 for illegally shutting out rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

On Tuesday, Intel said on its website, "The Federal Trade Commission has concluded its review of the proposed McAfee transaction and has cleared it."

It added, "We are continuing to work with the staff at the European Commission as they continue their review."

Gauna, who has a "market outperform" rating on Intel, said that with the industrywide shift to cloud computing where sensitive data is moved online, security is a chief concern and Intel's acquisition of McAfee would bolster its efforts in that area.

Intel shares were down 9 cents at $21.14 in afternoon Nasdaq trade.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by John Wallace)

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