Intel offers concessions to EC over McAfee buyout probe

Intel has attempted to quash European concerns over its acquisition of McAfee by offering concessions to the European Commission, which began a probe of the deal in December.

The EC was worried about the potential effect Intel owning McAfee could have on the market, wondering if Intel would use its dominant position to force customers to buy McAfee security products to unlock full processor power or other features on its chips.

Rival security software firms had no problem with the deal, as we outlined in our analysis last month, but the EC was not so convinced. Intel has since offered a number of concessions, the details of which were not revealed, which could see the EC rule in favour of the buyout.

The offer was enough to make the EC extend the deadline on its ruling by another two weeks, with the deadline now being January 26. It is believed that the concessions could speed up the process and ultimately result in a favourable ruling.

The McAfee deal is worth $7.68 billion and will allow Intel to incorporate more security features into its chips, bringing the two vastly different industries much closer together. It could make other big companies consider buying other security firms.

The Federal Trade Commission in the US approved the deal in late December, making the EC the last major hurdle Intel needs to overcome.

Intel revealed to Bloomberg that is is working closely with the Commission and that it still believes it can close the McAfee deal within the first half of 2011.