Network Associates has announced it has agreed to sell the assets of its Magic help desk and management software division to BMC Software, which markets a line of enterprise management products, for US$47 million in cash.

Sandra Bergeron, Network Associates' executive vice president of corporate development and strategic research, said the company had decided to sell the assets of the Magic division because it fell outside of Network Associates' primary security business, which is dominated by anti-virus software and gateway security products.

She said Network Associates had about $750 million in cash reserves and that the company was not selling Magic simply to drum up more cash.

"It's not core to us as a security business," said Bergeron, adding that the revenue from the Magic products accounts for less than 10 percent of Network Associates' overall revenue. "The goal is BMC will take over maintenance and support obligations" of the Magic products, she noted. The Magic division currently has about 4,000 corporate customers.

BMC said it expected to continue to offer the Magic line of products, including Magic Service Desk and Magic Help Desk, after the acquisition was completed, which should occur within 90 days following customary regulatory reviews.

BMC Software, whose products are used primarily by larger companies, indicated the motivation to acquire the Magic software assets was to expand into the small- and mid-sized business market. Jim Grant, vice president and general manager at BMC Software's Remedy business unit, said in a statement that BMC would be able to offer "more options" to both Magic customers and current BMC customers in the future.

There are approximately 200 people working in Network Associates' Magic division at present, and BMC said it expected to hire them as part of the acquisition of the Magic division.