FTC approves Intel acquisition of McAfee

Chipmaker receives regulatory approval from the FTC to proceed with its proposed $7.68 billion takeover of McAfee and now awaits the green light from the European Commission.

Intel has received a thumb's up from the Federal Trade Commission for its proposed purchase of McAfee.

The chipmaker confirmed the news yesterday in a note on its Investor Relations site, announcing that the Federal Trade Commission has finished its review of the deal and has cleared it.

In August, Intel broke the news of its decision to buy the security vendor for $7.68 billion--the biggest acquisition in its 42-year history. Intel sees McAfee as a way to gain a greater foothold into a growing market of security-conscious businesses and consumers.

The FTC's approval of the deal isn't the only hurdle that Intel faces. Still pending is a review by the European Commission.

Regulators from the EC have reportedly expressed initial concerns over the antitrust implications of an Intel-owned McAfee. A recent Wall Street Journal story cited unnamed sources who said that regulators have questioned other security software vendors over the issue of Intel providing McAfee's products with special access to certain chip features, thus giving them a leg up over competitors.

However, an analyst from JMP Securities quoted by Reuters doesn't see much trouble ahead in getting EC clearance on the deal.

"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," JMP analyst Alex Gauna told Reuters.

Intel has tangled with Europe before. Last year, the company was fined $1.45 billion by the European Union after it found Intel guilty of engaging in illegal antitrust actions designed to hamper rival chipmakers.

On its end, Intel said simply that it continues to work with the EC on the review.

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