McAfee (A)

Case Solution

Jeffrey Chambers, Alexander Tauber
Stanford Graduate School of Business ()

This case tells the story of McAfee Associates, the leading provider of antivirus software. The case provides extensive background information on the founder, John McAfee, as well as on the antivirus software industry as it emerged in the late 1980s and early 1990s. John McAfee saw the potential to protect computers from viruses and created a small software package to help solve the problem. He mainly distributed the product through shareware and gave the product to people for free. However, corporate clients had to pay for the software. With that, McAfee Associates became a $ 5 million company with a 90% operating margin and had good prospects for faster growth. John was approached by the CEO of Symantec, who wanted to buy McAfee, with an attractive takeover offer. Around the same time, two venture capital firms approached him and wanted to invest $ 10 million in 50% of the business. He now had to decide which of the economic offers he accepted.

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