Cyber security firm Sophos latest British company snapped up by foreign buyers
Shares in cyber security group Sophos have jumped 37% as investors react to a 3.82 billion dollar (£3 billion) takeover bid by a US private equity group.
The approach by Thoma Bravo has been accepted by the board and the deal will now go to shareholders for final approval.
It is the latest in a long line of foreign businesses snapping up UK-listed firms, with many taking advantage of the historically weak pound.
Sophos can trace its roots back 34 years to a semi-detached house in Kidlington, Oxford, where friends Jan Hruska and Peter Lammer launched the business.
But the current management said they believed the deal was in the best interests of all shareholders.
Peter Gyenes, chairman of Sophos, said the takeover “secures the delivery of future value for shareholders today. Thoma Bravo has deep sector expertise in cybersecurity software as well as a long and successful track record of partnering with and investing in its portfolio companies to support long-term growth and success.
“Under Thoma Bravo’s ownership we expect Sophos to accelerate its evolution and leadership in next-generation cybersecurity.”
He added that trading has been “encouraging” and expected a 9% boost in billings growth for the six months to the end of September.
The deal values each share in Sophos at 583p – and investors appeared keen on the bid, with shares jumping 37% to 581.4p in early trading on Monday morning.
Seth Boro, a managing partner at Thoma Bravo, said current management would remain in place.
He added: “The global cybersecurity market is evolving rapidly, driven by significant technological innovation, as cyber threats to business increase in scope and complexity. Sophos has a market-leading product portfolio and we believe that, by applying Thoma Bravo’s expertise, operational framework and experience, we can support the business and accelerate its evolution and growth.”
The deal is the latest in a slew of foreign takeovers of UK businesses, including Advent’s £4 billion attempted purchase of defence firm Cobham; Hasbro’s £3.3 billion takeover of Entertainment One and Asahi’s £250 million deal to buy Fuller, Smith & Turner.
Last month, the Office for National Statistics revealed takeovers of British companies by foreign buyers more than doubled in value in the second quarter of the year.