UK cybersecurity firm Sophos agrees £3.1bn takeover

The UK cybersecurity firm Sophos, which assisted the NHS and a number of businesses during a massive WannaCry ransomware attack two years ago, is to be bought by a US private equity group for $3.9bn (£3.1bn).

The FTSE 250 company, which is based in Abingdon near Oxford and employs 3,400 people, said it would unanimously recommend the offer from Thoma Bravo. It is the first acquisition outside the US for the Chicago-based buyout firm. Sophos shares jumped 37% to 585p, in line with the bid terms of $7.40p a share (583p).

Sophos floated at 225p in June 2015, valuing the firm at just over £1bn, in one of the biggest technology IPOs in the UK that year. It was its third attempt at going public.

The company was founded in 1985 by Jan Hruska and Peter Lammer, who stepped down as joint chief executives in 2005, although they still act as special advisers to the board. They have committed to selling their stakes, a combined 16.3%, to Thoma Bravo and will make £218m and £250m respectively.

The chief executive, Kris Hagerman, will make £16.4m from selling his 0.57% stake, while Nick Bray, the outgoing chief financial officer, will pocket £1.7m from his 0.06% holding.

Sophos is the latest UK company to be taken over by an overseas firm taking advantage of the fall in the value of sterling since the Brexit vote in June 2016. The London-based money transfer company WorldFirst was sold to Ant Financial, controlled by the Chinese billionaire Jack Ma, reportedly for £520m.

Source: The Guardian

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