Private equity giant Thoma Bravo has continued to make moves in the cybersecurity world, with the purchase of UK antivirus maker Sophos – which counts the NHS among its clients.
The US-based private equity investment firm announced this month it had purchased Sophos – which offers “next generation data protection” in the form of encryption, network security, email security, mobile security and unified threat management – for £3.1 billion.
The sale had landed Sophos founders Jan Hruska and Peter Lammer a combined £500 million payout, whilst current chief executive Kris Hagerman is expected to get £16.4 million for his 0.57% stake.
Sophos, which is based in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, handles cyber security for the NHS, as well as defence contractor Northrop Grumman. It counts around 3,400 people among its staff and forms part of the FTSE 250.
The offer from San Francisco’s Thoma Bravo was said to be unanimously recommended by the Sophos board, who in turn saw their share price jump 37% once the announcement was made.
Analysts say the current trend for overseas firms snapping up British companies can be largely attributed to the weakened pound, with big deals currently seeming like relative bargains among investors. This is why, many said, Japanese-based Softbank moved to snap up British chip designer ARM in 2016 for £24.3 billion, and why China’s Ctrip bought Skyscanner not long afterwards for £1.4 billion.
As for Sophos, the company maintained this sale was part of a new chapter for the company, rather than the first step towards being swallowed up elsewhere. Hagerman told sky.com how the move would help Sophos develop further in the fight against cybercrime.
“Today marks an exciting milestone in the ongoing journey of Sophos,” he said. “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.”