In the latest private equity buyout of a software company, Thoma Bravo is making a big bet on cybersecurity by acquiring Barracuda Networks for $1.6 billion.
Barracuda, which went public in 2013 and competes with Palo Alto Networks and Symantec, provides security for cloud-connected networks and applications. Its customers include Boeing, Microsoft and the U.S. Department of Defense.
The sale price of $27.55 per share is below the over $40 per share where Barracuda stock was trading in 2015. But as VentureBeat reports, “With the massive Equifax data breach still fresh in everyone’s minds and the cybersecurity workforce expected to be short nearly 2 million people by 2022, online security remains a hot industry for investment.”
Thoma Bravo’s previous tech investments include such companies as Qlik Technologies, Riverbed Technology, SolarWinds, and Compuware.
“Barracuda is a proven industry leader, consistently bringing powerful, comprehensive solutions to customers in an increasingly prevalent, hostile, and complex threat environment,” Seth Boro, a managing partner at Thoma Bravo, said in a news release.
“We believe that Barracuda is at the forefront of innovation in several highly strategic areas of the cybersecurity market and are excited to be the company’s partner in the next phase of its growth,” he added.
Founded in 2003, Barracuda Networks raised at least $46 million in venture funding before its IPO. It delivers data security solutions to more than 150,000 organizations worldwide in appliance, virtual appliance, cloud, and hybrid deployment configurations.
Private equity firms have been aggressively buying up software companies since last year. The biggest deals in the past 18 months include the sale of data analytics firm Qlik to Thoma Bravo for about $3 billion; the $1.79 billion acquisition of marketing software giant Marketo by Vista Equity Partners; and the sale of event-management company Cvent to Vista Equity for $1.65 billion.
“We believe the proposed transaction offers an opportunity for us to accelerate our growth with our industry-leading security platform that’s purpose-built for highly distributed, diverse cloud and hybrid environments,” Barracuda CEO BJ Jenkins said. “We will continue Barracuda’s tradition of delivering easy-to-use, full-featured solutions.”