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Thoma Bravo to acquire UK cybersecurity unicorn Darktrace for $5.3B

Poppy Gustafsson
Picture credits: Darktrace

Darktrace, a UK-based cybersecurity firm for enterprises, recently announced that it has agreed to be acquired by US private equity firm Thoma Bravo in a $5.3 billion transaction.

The all-cash deal values Darktrace at $7.75 per share, a 20% premium over its last unaffected stock price. Thoma Bravo says KKR and other shareholders with a combined 14.4% stake in the software maker have agreed to back the transaction. To close the deal, the private equity firm will need the support of Darktrace investors with at least 75% of the company’s shares.

Thoma Bravo previously sought to acquire Darktrace in 2022. However, no deal was signed because the software maker found the offer to be too low.

What’s next?

The acquisition is believed to be closed in the second half of 2024. From there, Thoma Bravo will make investments to enhance Darktrace’s cybersecurity capabilities and grow its market presence. It has been announced that there will be no material restructurings or changes to Darktrace’s Cambridge headquarters and its other business operations.

Thoma Bravo added that it will use its M&A expertise to grow the company’s cybersecurity platform, which suggests that it plans to enhance the software through acquisitions. 

Controls computer networks with AI

Founded in 2013 by Poppy Gustafsson, Darktrace is the first organisation to implement AI to the challenge of cybersecurity and it was founded by mathematicians and cyber experts from government intelligence backgrounds. The software uses AI to block cyberattacks across cloud environments, employee devices, and technology assets.

As per the company, its algorithms can spot not only code vulnerabilities but also cases where an enterprise might be susceptible to social engineering attacks. Cybersecurity teams can use the software to launch simulated campaigns and evaluate how employees respond. After detecting a cyberattack, its platform can automatically take steps to block it. The software is capable of taking actions such as stopping malicious file downloads without manual input from administrators. According to Darktrace, cybersecurity teams also have access to AI-generated automation workflows for recovering systems targeted by hackers. 

Darktrace has made only one acquisition since launching – the €47.5 million purchase of Netherlands-based Cybersprint in 2022. It has developed a platform designed to help companies find and fix vulnerabilities in their infrastructure.

Notably, Darktrace went public in 2021 on the London Stock Exchange and claims that over 9,400 organisations use its flagship product, a cybersecurity platform called the ActiveAI Security Platform. 

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