McAfee Gets Yet Another Chance

It's typical for new CEOs to have ambitious plans. But the results can be mixed. As for McAfee's (NYSE: MFE  ) new CEO, Dave DeWalt, it looks like he has made solid progress since coming on board in March. Then again, he was a top operator at EMC (NYSE: EMC  ) and knows how to sell complex technologies to big customers.

In last week's earnings report, McAfee reported that Q2 revenue increased 13% to $314.3 million. There was strength in global markets, with growth of 53% in the Asia Pacific region and 80% in Latin America.

Earnings spiked 57% to $49.4 million, or $0.30 per share, which compares with $31.4 million, or $0.19 per share, in the same period a year ago. McAfee posted $84 million in cash flow from operations.

It looks like DeWalt is already seeing traction in snagging major contracts. In fiscal Q2, McAfee closed 11 deals in excess of $1 million, which is the best performance over the past five years.

It's no easy feat in light of the competition from players like Symantec (Nasdaq: SYMC  ) and Check Point (Nasdaq: CHKP  ) . It also helps that McAfee has spent lots of resources building a top product, Total Protection, and continues to innovate. The company added 19 patents for a total of 279 in the second quarter.

But DeWalt's most important priority is cleaning up McAfee's financials and completing its wide-ranging restatements. Based on the conference call, it looks like things may be wrapped up soon, and this is likely to mean the stock buybacks will resume. With $1.4 billion in the bank, there is lots of firepower for this.

According to DeWalt, data loss costs companies $10 billion per quarter. And security is getting even tougher because of new platforms such as video, VoIP, car appliances, and social networks. In other words, growth should continue for a revamped McAfee.

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Fool contributor Tom Taulli, author of The Complete M&A Handbook, does not own shares mentioned in this article. He is ranked 1,951 out of more than 60,000 investors in Motley Fool CAPS.


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