Cambridge to remain power base for Darktrace after $5.315bn US acquisition

26 Apr, 2024
Tony Quested
Cambridge-based cyber security AI innovator Darktrace is being sold to Thoma Bravo in the US for $5.315 billion. A deal was mooted last year but Darktrace directors felt it significantly undervalued the business.
Poppy Gustafsson. Courtesy – Darktrace.

The acquisition is currently expected to complete during the third or fourth quarter of 2024.

The parties have agreed that Darktrace retains its research and development capabilities in the UK and the Netherlands and that there will be no material restructurings or changes to Darktrace's Cambridge UK headquarters or other business operations.

Darktrace says it will continue to create high skilled jobs in the UK and invest in building world-class cyber AI capabilities to improve UK resilience. Being able to draw on Thoma Bravo's resources and expertise will support Darktrace's continued growth globally, resulting in further opportunities for its people, the company added.

Thoma Bravo is one of the largest software-focused investors in the world, with over $138bn in assets under management as of December 31. It invests in growth-oriented, innovative companies operating in the software and technology sectors.

This is the second $5bn-plus acquisition of a Cambridge company by a US buyer in recent months. Danaher bought life science research tools supplier Abcam at the back end of last year and has pledged to continue to grow the business from Cambridge.

The Darktrace deal represents yet another of the Cluster’s Crown Jewels that have fallen into foreign ownership. By mid-morning Darktrace’s UK share price was 606.05p – up 89.05p or 17.22 per cent.

Darktrace chair Gordon Hurst, said: “The proposed offer represents an attractive premium and an opportunity for shareholders to receive the certainty of a cash consideration at a fair value for their shares.

“The proposed acquisition will provide Darktrace access to a strong financial partner in Thoma Bravo, with deep software sector expertise, who can enhance the company's position as a best-in-class cyber AI business headquartered in the UK.”

CEO Poppy Gustafsson added: "I am immensely proud of our brilliant business and people. From our base in Cambridge, we are building a world-leading company using a unique form of artificial intelligence to address the societal challenge of cybersecurity.

“This proposed offer represents the next stage in our growth journey and I am excited by the many opportunities we have ahead of us. Our technology has never been more relevant in a world increasingly threatened by AI-powered cyberattacks.

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

And Andrew Almeida, Partner of Thoma Bravo, commented: "Darktrace is at the very cutting edge of cybersecurity technology, and we have long been admirers of its platform and capability in artificial intelligence.

“The pace of innovation in cybersecurity is accelerating in response to cyber threats that are simultaneously complex, global and sophisticated. Darktrace is driven by a culture of innovation and we are excited by the opportunity to work alongside Darktrace's team and accelerate its development into a scaled, global leader, further strengthening its capability and offer to customers.

“Thoma Bravo has been investing exclusively in software for over 20 years and we will bring to bear the full range of our platform, operational expertise and deep experience of cybersecurity in supporting Darktrace's growth."