Partnerships / Acquisitions

Private Equity Firm Thoma Bravo To Acquire UK’s Sophos For $3.8B

British cybersecurity software company Sophos is being acquired for $3.8 billion by U.S. private equity firm Thoma Bravo, Bloomberg reported on Monday (Oct. 14).

Sophos’s three biggest shareholders — Apax Partners and founders Jan Hruska and Peter Lammer — agreed to a cash offer of $7.40 per share. The takeover is among the biggest private U.K. tech deals in recent years.

The company’s stock had dropped 27 percent, its lowest point in almost two years, after a rough 2018. When the takeover was announced, shares jumped by 38 percent in early trading, a historical high for Sophos.

Sophos provides cybersecurity to the U.K.’s National Health Service as well as to 400,000 businesses worldwide, including Pixar, Ford and Toshiba. It also provides IT security to small and mid-sized businesses. The Sophos board is said to be in favor of the deal.  

U.K. tech firms ARM Group and Imagination Technologies were also recently purchased by foreign investors.

“Another day, another takeover of a U.K. company by a foreign business,” AJ Bell’s investment director Russ Mould told The Guardian. “Sterling weakness has made pound-denominated assets look cheap and so we’ve seen many overseas firms pounce on U.K. assets in the past few years.”

Chicago-based Thoma Bravo has acquired over 200 technology firms during its 40-year history. The Sophos deal marks the first acquisition for the company that is outside the United States.

“Today marks an exciting milestone in the ongoing journey of Sophos,” Hagerman told the Guardian. “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.”

Thoma Bravo acquired Barracuda Networks — a competitor of Sophos — for $1.6 billion in 2017. The private equity firm also acquired U.S. cybersecurity software company Symantec in 2018, as well as the IT security company Imperva. 

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