Intel Office in California
Intel may sell its cyber security business formerly known as McAfeeJustin Sullivan/Getty Images

Chip-maker Intel is reported to be considering the sale of its cybersecurity arm, Intel Security, previously called McAfee, which it had acquired in 2011 for $7.7bn(£5.75bn). The company is still searching for potential buyers and if the deal works out, it will be one of the biggest ever in the sector.

The dedicated security technology company was purchased by the chip-maker with the intention of incorporating its cyber security technology into Intel's chips to provide a sophisticated design that could detect threats at deeper levels. However, almost six years into the acquisition the company has reportedly failed to implement the plan.

Instead, the company announced that it is downsizing and plans to cut 12,000 jobs globally by mid-2017 as it is restructuring and focusing on making microchips that power data centres and internet-connected devices eventually moving away from the PC industry it once helped found.

Despite this, Intel Security remains one of the world's biggest dedicated security technology companies, and Intel will look to sell the firm at a much higher price than what it acquired it for. The Financial Times reports that owing to the increased interest from private equity buyers in cyber security companies, a group of PE firms may form an alliance to buy the cybersecurity arm of Intel.

The origins of Intel Security date back to 1987 when McAfee Associates was founded by programmer and businessman John McAfee who developed the first commercial anti-virus program. After John sold his stake in the company, it went through a series of restructurings and mergers and acquisitions until Intel announced it was buying the company in 2010. Although Intel renamed the company Intel Security in 2014 it has maintained the McAfee brand for some of its products.