Private equity firm Thoma Bravo made an offer to acquire British cybersecurity company Sophos for about $3.9 billion USD.
Sophos’ board of directors intends to vote unanimously to approve the deal, according to a statement from the company. Thoma Bravo, which has offices in Chicago and San Francisco, will pay $7.40 per share for the company.
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Sophos, which is traded on the London Stock Exchange, went public in 2015 with a valuation of $1.6 billion at the time of its IPO. The company’s products defend against malware, data leakage and spam.
“Sophos is actively driving the transition in next-generation cybersecurity solutions, leveraging advanced capabilities in cloud, machine learning, APIs, automation, managed threat response, and more,” Sophos CEO Kris Hagerman said in a statement. “We continue to execute a highly-effective and differentiated strategy, and we see this offer as a compelling validation of Sophos, its position in the industry, and its progress.”
Private equity firms often step in and acquire companies to streamline operations and turn the ship around into a more profitable enterprise. In the case of Sophos, the firm’s revenue growth is slow and the company is only marginally profitable. That said, its operations generate lots of cash, which could give Thoma Bravo the sort of maneuverability to shake up the company’s growth while not over-burdening the company with debt.
Thoma Bravo has acquired more than 200 software and tech companies, according to the statement. The firm has also invested in companies including Mailgun and Cority.
Sophos has acquired at least 13 companies, according to Crunchbase, with its most recent acquisition being Rook Security in June. Although the company went public in 2015, raising $125 million with its IPO, it’s been around since 1985.
And this isn’t Sophos’ first rodeo when it comes to private equity. Apax Partners acquired a 70 percent interest in the company for $580 million in 2010, according to the Wall Street Journal, valuing Sophos at $830 million.
Both the public and private markets do have an appetite for cybersecurity companies–Crowdstrike went public in June and its shares have soared since then.
Some recent late-stage cyber security rounds include SparkCognition’s $100 million Series C round earlier this month and Shape Security’s Series F last month.
With investors putting capital into high-growth private cybersecurity companies and public investors cheering the flotation of Crowdstrike, it looks like a hot time for startups focused on securing our increasingly digital world.
Illustration Credit: Li-Anne Diasaa