Darktrace Acquired by Private Equity Firm Thoma Bravo in $5 Billion Deal

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darktrace acquired by thoma bravo

UK cybersecurity leader Darktrace US has announced that it is set to be acquired by private equity firm Thoma Bravo in a $5 billion all-cash deal.

In a statement made to investors, the Darktrace board stated that “operating and financial achievements have not been reflected commensurately in its valuation, with shares trading at a significant discount to its global peer group”.

Darktrace was founded in 2013 and leverages AI to safeguard organizations from cyber attacks. Their core technology,"Self-Learning AI'', continuously analyzes an organization's activity to understand normal operations.

By establishing this baseline, Darktrace can then identify anomalies that could signify a cyber threat. This includes suspicious data transfers or unauthorized access attempts.

Their AI-integrated approach allows Darktrace to detect threats that traditional security solutions might miss. They also provide real-time threat visualization and investigation tools, to allow security teams to respond quickly.

Darktrace positioned the Thoma Bravo offer as a strategic opportunity for shareholders to secure a guaranteed premium for their shares and foster potential growth in a "stable and private" environment. 

thoma bravo acquire darktrace

Thoma Bravo, founded in 1980, is an American private equity firm that specializes in investing in software and technology companies. Their strategy involves partnering with experienced management teams and providing them with financial backing to fuel innovation. Their attempt to acquire Darktrace highlights their ambition to expand their presence within the rapidly growing cybersecurity market.

"All-Cash Deal"

This acquisition is an "all-cash deal", meaning Darktrace shareholders will receive a cash payment for their shares. This price is likely to be higher than the current market price of Darktrace's stock, offering shareholders a guaranteed profit on their investment.

Thoma Bravo’s proven track record of success in the software sector will likely prove valuable to Darktrace's team, with insights on product development, business strategy, and go-to-market tactics that could help the company refine its existing products, explore new markets, and ultimately achieve sustainable growth.

The success of Darktrace's AI-powered cybersecurity solutions failed to translate into good stock market valuation. Lingering concerns remain tied to co-founder Mike Lynch's past involvement with the company.

Lynch is currently denying that he was the “driving force” behind fraud that caused Hewlett-Packard to overpay significantly for Lynch’s previous business, Autonomy, in 2011. Despite Lynch’s current lack of a formal role in Darktrace, he and his wife still hold significant shares.

Thought leaders within the cybersecurity community have responded to the acquisition news with cautious optimism, though the overall reaction to the acquisition has been mixed. The deal validates the value of AI-powered security solutions, potentially attracting more investment to the sector.

However, fears remain that the acquisition could stifle innovation by limiting competition or prioritizing short-term profits over long-term research and development. This concern is reflected in the surprised reaction of Richard Steinham, Chief Research Analyst at IT-Harvest. He reposted the news story with the comment, "What??? This is crazy. Thoma Bravo acquiring Darktrace." 

The acquisition of Darktrace marks a significant moment in the cybersecurity industry. While Darktrace shareholders stand to benefit from a guaranteed payout, the deal raises questions about the company's future trajectory. Concerns linger about the impact on long-term research and development, crucial for staying ahead of evolving cyber threats

While the acquisition presents Darktrace with new opportunities, it also raises concerns about its long-term commitment to cutting-edge AI security solutions.

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