Buyout firm Thoma Bravo adds Sophos to its cybersecurity chest with $3.8 billion deal

(Reuters) – U.S. private equity firm Thoma Bravo is adding Sophos Group (SOPH.L) to its cybersecurity stable, announcing on Monday a buyout deal that values the British maker of antivirus and encryption products at about $3.8 billion.

FILE PHOTO: Silhouettes of laptop users are seen next to a screen projection of binary code are seen in this picture illustration taken March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

The takeover price of 583 pence per share represented a 37% premium from Sophos’s closing price on Friday and Sophos shares surged nearly 38% on news of the deal.

Sophos, whose customers include Under Armour Inc (UAA.N), Ford Motor Co (F.N) and Toshiba Corp (6502.T), listed in 2015 at 225 pence per share and has seen its market value double since then, despite a tough 2018.

Thoma Bravo’s move for Sophos trails several other buyout deals by U.S. funds drawn toward the UK as the pound weakened ahead of Brexit.

Sophos Group shareholders will get $7.40 per share in cash, which is 583 pence per share.

Shares of rival Avast (AVST.L) also rose after the Sophos deal was announced.

Sophos CEO Kris Hagerman told Reuters that his company had first been approached by Thoma Bravo in June.

“The (Sophos) board ultimately concluded that this offer and the acquisition can accelerate Sophos’ progress in next-generation cybersecurity,” Hagerman said.


Private equity funds are increasingly targeting listed companies in Britain. Advent recently offered to buy engineering firm Cobham (COB.L) while an investment consortium led by Blackstone looks to take control of Madame Tussaud’s owner Merlin (MERL.L).

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