Apax Partners to acquire majority stake in Sophos

by CXOtoday Staff    May 05, 2010

IT security and control firm Sophos has reached a definitive agreement to sell a majority interest in the company to Apax Partners, a global private equity group, in a transaction valuing the company at USD 830 million. When the transaction is completed, the founders of Sophos will retain a significant minority shareholding.  TA Associates, a minority shareholder in Sophos since 2002, will sell its full interest to Apax in this transaction.

Sophos operates in the IT security market, protecting companies of all sizes against computer and data threats. Sophos’s flagship endpoint security and data protection product offers anti-virus, anti-spyware, client firewall, host intrusion prevention, network access control, application control, device control, disk encryption and data leak prevention. The company has over 100 million users in more than 150 countries, with customers including Cisco, Marks and Spencer, Heinz and Harvard University.

"Apax’s financial backing, combined with Sophos’s deep understanding of security and data protection is great news for our customers, prospects, partners. It is also a testament to the efforts of all those who helped bring Sophos to where it is today," said Steve Munford, CEO,  Sophos.

"We identified the security software space as an attractive investment area for us given its rapid growth driven by ever increasing malware threats and high barriers to entry. Sophos is a very strong platform and is gaining market share. Apax’s strong track record and industry specific knowledge in the technology sector makes Sophos a perfect fit and we look forward to working closely with this high-growth business going forward ," said Salim Nathoo, Partner in the Tech & Telecom team at Apax Partners.

"We invested in Sophos eight years ago because of its stellar reputation in the security software marketplace," said Ajit Nedungadi, MD at TA Associates. "We have enjoyed working with the founders and management team of Sophos to further build on that foundation, helping them grow the company six-fold since 2002. Our best wishes to Steve and his team for continued success."

Alongside Apax Partners, current shareholders will retain significant stakes in the business, including Dr Jan Hruska and Dr Peter Lammer, who co-founded the company in 1985.