Baku, August 19 (AZERTAC). Intel Corp (INTC.O) said it would buy security software maker McAfee Inc (MFE.N) for $7.7 billion to capitalize on rising demand from consumers for better protection of their laptops, smartphones and tablets.

Intel will pay $48 per share in cash for McAfee in its biggest acquisition ever. The price represents a 60 percent premium to McAfee`s Wednesday closing price -- a level company executives defended as within the range of other large software and security deals.

The pact is the latest in a steady stream of technology deals, including Dell Inc`s (DELL.O) $1.3 billion purchase of storage company 3PAR Inc (PAR.N) earlier this week.

The McAfee deal, which caught some analysts by surprise and worried others because it marries a chipmaker and a software maker, underscores Intel`s determination to continue expanding beyond the PC market to hot businesses like mobile devices and smartphones.

But for the moment, the biggest advantage in the deal may be Intel`s ability to sell McAfee`s software to PC customers. Intel supplies roughly 80 percent of the microprocessors used in PCs.

"Everywhere we sell a microprocessor there`s an opportunity for a security software sale to go with it," Intel Chief Executive Paul Otellini said on a conference call.

Intel shares dropped 3.5 percent in morning trade, while shares of McAfee surged 57 percent and helped boost the wider security sector. Symantec Corp (SYMC.O), the biggest security company, saw its shares rise 5.2 percent.

"It`s slightly out of left field. Nobody would have seen this coming," said Chris Hickey, an analyst at Atlantic Equities. "At the simplest level, Intel has strong relationships with a number of PC and server vendors. This should be an opportunity to cross-sell McAfee`s security software into those PC vendors."

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