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Network Associates goes back to McAfee

Company returns to its roots with name change; will refocus efforts on computer security.

Two steps forward, one step back.

Network Associates announced on Wednesday that it will now operate under the name "McAfee" and refocus its efforts on computer security. With the name change, the company returns to its roots: McAfee Associates, named for its founder John McAfee, merged with Network General to form Network Associates in 1997.

As part of the transformation, Network Associates is selling its Sniffer Technologies unit and its line of network-management tools to Silver Lake Partners and Texas Pacific Group for $275 million in cash. Those companies plan to reform Network General.

The soon-to-be-former Network Associates sold off its help desk unit, Magic Solutions, to software maker BMC in February. Two years ago, Network Associates shed its encryption division, PGP.

McAfee will concentrate on intrusion-prevention products, a sector of computer security that focuses on blocking attackers from gaining access to data and servers. The company will continue to sell its antivirus products under the McAfee brand name. McAfee originally announced the plan in April.

The company will continue to trade on the New York Stock Exchange, but under the MFE ticker.