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Business Observer Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022 1 month ago

Clearwater cybersecurity firm to be acquired for $4.6 billion

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KnowBe4 Inc. has accepted an offer made by Austin, Texas-based Vista Equity Partners; the deal is expected to close in the first half of 2023.

Vista Equity Partners, a private equity firm headquartered in Austin, Texas, has reached an agreement to acquire KnowBe4 Inc. (NASDAQ: KNBE), three weeks after making an offer to the fast-growing, Clearwater-based cybersecurity company.

The all-cash transaction is valued at $4.6 billion, according to a news release, and shareholders will receive $24.90 per share — 44% higher than the closing price of KnowBe4 stock on Sept. 16, the last full trading day before Vista publicly disclosed its initial proposal. The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2023, subject to regulatory and shareholder approval.

“Today’s announcement is a testament to the success of our strategy and the strength of our incredible team,” KnowBe4 Chairman and CEO Stu Sjouwerman states in the release. “This acquisition by Vista represents the next phase of our journey. KnowBe4 has a strong record of performance, as evidenced by our market-leading platform and global customer base. Under Vista’s ownership, we will have access to additional resources and support, which will help us achieve our goals and deliver enhanced value to our customers.”

Founded in 2010 by Sjouwerman, an IT and data security specialist, KnowBe4 is a leading provider of services that combat phishing, ransomware, malware, CEO fraud and other cyberattacks. Its platform, the release states, is used by more than 52,000 organizations around the globe. The company went public in 2021. 

“As a trusted partner to enterprise software companies around the world, we make a point to invest in businesses that make a difference and have a demonstrated track record of success,” Vista Equity Partners Senior Managing Director Michael Fosnaugh states in the release. “We look forward to leveraging our deep understanding of the business to help Stu and his talented and experienced team address the human element of cybersecurity.”

KnowBe4 reported $246.3 million in gross revenue in 2021, up from $174.3 million in 2020, an increase of nearly 41%.

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