Thoma Bravo mulls bid for UK cybersecurity firm

Thoma Bravo mulls bid for UK cybersecurity firm

Thoma Bravo is weighing up a bid for Darktrace, a London-listed cybersecurity tech firm.

The US software buyout giant has until September 12 to make a formal offer for Darktrace, which is being advised by investment bankers at Jefferies and Lazard.

Darktrace, a Cambridge-based business which is on the FTSE 250 index, confirmed this week that it is in the early stages of discussions with Thoma Bravo.

Since making its debut on the London Stock Exchange at 250p a share in April last year, Darktrace’s stock has been on a rollercoaster ride. The share price hit a high of 985p last September before sliding in the following months.

Confirmation of the take-private talks sent shares up more than 20% yesterday to 515p.

The private equity interest in the firm is the latest sign of surging investor demand for cybersecurity assets, as governments draw up new cybersecurity legislation and companies face unprecedented pressure to protect themselves.

READ MORE: Inside PE’s cyber security buyout spree

European PE investment into cybersecurity hit a record $8bn in the second quarter of this year.

In the US, private equity deal activity in cybersecurity hit $13.6bn during the second quarter of this year, down from $21.7bn in the previous three months but up from $5.9bn when compared to the same quarter last year, according to Pitchbook data.

“Cybersecurity is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. It’s in the news all the time, both with Covid and the current conflict. It’s now a board agenda item,” Mark Smith, a director in the technology group at investment bank Houlihan Lokey, recently told Private Equity News.

Thoma Bravo’s latest interest in a UK company comes as the buyout giant looks set to take its first office in Europe, going under offer to take two floors of an office block in London’s West End.

READ MORE: Thoma Bravo is coming to London

The firm currently has three offices, in Chicago, Miami and San Francisco.

The company’s UK deals have included the £3.1bn takeover of Oxford-based cyber security business Sophos in late 2019.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Sebastian McCarthy

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