Thoma Bravo to buy UK’s Darktrace for about $5.32 billion

By Thomson Reuters Apr 26, 2024 | 2:24 AM

By Paul Sandle

LONDON (Reuters) -Private equity firm Thoma Bravo agreed to buy Britain’s Darktrace for about $5.32 billion in cash on Friday, saying it would use its software expertise to drive growth at the Mike Lynch-backed cybersecurity specialist.

The agreed price of $7.75, or around 620 pence per share represents a 44% premium to Darktrace’s average share price in the three months to Thursday Thoma Bravo said.

Shares in the company, which have doubled over the last year, jumped 16% after the announcement to 601 pence.

Thoma Bravo partner Andrew Almeida said Darktrace was at the “very cutting edge” of cybersecurity.

“Thoma Bravo has been investing exclusively in software for over twenty years and we will bring to bear the full range of our platform, operational expertise and deep experience of cybersecurity in supporting Darktrace’s growth,” he said.

Founded in 2013 with the backing of tech entrepreneur Mike Lynch, Darktrace uses artificial intelligence to detect attacks and vulnerabilities inside IT networks rather than building barriers at the perimeter.

It listed its shares at 250 pence in April 2021.

Analysts have said the British company’s stock has lagged U.S. peers, partly due to concerns Lynch, who is currently being tried on fraud charges in the U.S. over his former company Autonomy. He has denied the charges.

Lynch, who has no longer has any role at Darktrace, owns 3.9% while his wife owns 2.9%, according to LSEG data.

Thoma Bravo previously approached Darktrace in 2022 but talks at the time did not result in an offer.

(Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru and Paul Sandle in London; Editing by Mrigank Dhaniwala and Sarah Young)