Darktrace Shares Leap on £4 Billion Private Equity Takeover

The Cambridge-based cyber security firm is set to be taken over by US private equity firm Thoma Bravo, pushing its share price up by over 19%

Christopher Johnson 26 April, 2024 | 10:41AM
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Shares in UK Cybersecurity firm Darktrace (DARK) leapt over 19% today on news of a £4 billion US private equity takeover.  

Darktrace, which will therefore be the latest firm to quit the London Stock Exchange, was valued at 618p per share as of 9:10AM, an increase of 19.23%. 

The deal comes less than two years after Thoma Bravo first entered talks to buy Darktrace, although it later halted its bid pursuit.

Darktrace said the acquisition will allow its business to accelerate its global expansion. 

Chief executive Poppy Gustafsson said the proposal represents the next stage in Darktrace's growth journey. 

"Our technology has never been more relevant in a world increasingly threatened by AI-powered cyberattacks," she said.

"In the face of this, we are expanding our product portfolio, entering new markets, and focused on delivering for our customers, partners and colleagues."  

Thoma Bravo added the deal "represents an attractive opportunity to increase its exposure to the large and growing cybersecurity market, and to invest to accelerate Darktrace’s continued development and further scale the business globally".

In April 2021, Cambridge-based Darktrace floated on the London Stock Exchange at 250p per share. After peaking in October 2021, its shares have looked lacklustre.

But today, as the business announced its possible exit from the LSE, Darktrace decried that its growth "had not been reflected commensurately in its valuation".

Darktrace's bid to go private follows veterinary pharmaceuticals company Dechra and the restaurant group behind Wagamama, which both fled the London public market last year. 

The acquisition has also been seen as an opportunity for Darktrace to end its relationship with controversial billionaire investor Mike Lynch, who will net around £170 million from his 4% share in the firm.  

Lynch, who denies all wrongdoing, was extradited to the US last year to face criminal charges over Hewlett Packard's $11 billion (£8.8 billion) acquisition of his software company Autonomy in 2011. 

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Christopher Johnson  is data journalist at Morningstar

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