Signs of the Times

The writing on the wall at Network Associates Inc. is clear: Mergers and acquisitions ahead! The computer-security outfit, which began life as McAfee Associates, had revenues of $20 million in 1993. Today its revenues approach $1 billion. Stroll the halls of its office tower, and you’ll see how it’s come so far so fast. Dr. Solomon, PGP, Saber, Secure Networks: Those are just a few of the 15 companies that Network Associates has acquired. Those are also the names of its conference rooms — rooms often used by the people who built those acquired companies.

“We consider ourselves a billion-dollar startup,” says Zachary Nelson, 38, executive vice president of worldwide marketing. “Most of the companies that we acquired were small. We’re a confederation of companies.”

On the sixth floor, you might find Dean Au, 52, meeting with his team in the Cinco room. Cinco was the name of a company that McAfee acquired in 1997. Au founded Cinco, and many of the engineers with whom he works hold their meetings in this room. “The spirit that built that little company is still alive,” says Nelson.

Where’s the real action at Network Associates? In a room named Who’s Next? — where M&A possibilities are often hashed out. “It keeps people thinking about what we should be doing,” says Nelson. “And it’s fun.”

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