Apax Partners buys control of Sophos

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Private equity firm takes stake.

UK security vendor Sophos has sold a majority stake in the company to private equity firm Apax Partners in a deal that values Sophos at US$830m ($913.2m).

Sophos, which has over 100 million users in more than 150 countries, is the last major privately owned security firm in the industry.

The company had reportedly been planning an IPO in 2007 but cancelled it due to the poor financial climate.

"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," said Salim Nathoo, a partner in the Tech & Telecom team at Apax Partners.

"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."

The deal will allow Sophos founders Dr Peter Lammer and Dr Jan Hruska to realise some of the value of the company they started 25 years ago.

"As the market continues its migration from point solution to tailored, unified security suites, Sophos's strategy to offer the world's most resilient, cost effective solutions without any additional complexity remains key," said Steve Munford, chief execuitve of Sophos.

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

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