McAfee-Cheyenne talks take a turn for the worse

McAfee Associates's bid to buy Cheyenne Software has turned personal and rancorous.

McAfee CEO Bill Larson claims that friendly private discussions with ReiJane Huai, Cheyenne's CEO, turned ugly when Huai publicly rebuffed McAfee on Monday, April 15. However, Huai claims that Cheyenne was never for sale and that talks with McAfee were never serious.

Analysts say the deal would make sense for McAfee.

"McAfee wants to do more with storage management, and it has indicated it would rather buy than build," says Clare Price, an analyst with Gartner Group, in Stamford, Connecticut. "It would be excellent technology for McAfee."

McAfee officials say the company has been talking with Cheyenne about a merger since November, but Cheyenne officials characterise the November talks as simple "informal overtures".

"We have never been seriously in discussion with them. This offer is unwelcome," says Glenn Reyer, director of corporate marketing for Cheyenne.

Cheyenne officials are refusing to speculate, but analysts say the company might be forced to look for a more friendly deal.

"Culturally it would be a very difficult merger for Cheyenne," Price says. "They may end up having to look for another suitor."

Meanwhile, Cheyenne is trying to set up a deal with a security software vendor.

Checkpoint Software Technologies plans to integrate and distribute InnocuLan, Cheyenne's anti-virus software, with Checkpoint's Firewall-1.

The agreement between the two companies is not final and is subject to change, but Checkpoint intends to make the security package available on both Unix and Windows NT platforms.

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