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Thoma Bravo to acquire Proofpoint for $12.3 billion

The sale of the cyber security company will net shareholders $176 per share

Cyber security and compliance company Proofpoint is set to be acquired by private equity firm Thoma Bravo for $12.3 billion (£8.8 billion).

Proofpoint shareholders will receive $176 per share in cash once the deal with Thoma Bravo, a private equity investment firm focused on the software and technology-enabled services sector, closes.

The deal, which is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021, will see Proofpoint become a private company. It still needs to be approved by the company's shareholders and is subject to regulatory approvals.

“We have made tremendous strides in expanding the sophistication and scale of our offerings, and in 2020 we generated more than $1 billion in annual revenue – making Proofpoint the first SaaS-based cyber security and compliance company to reach that milestone,” said Gary Steele, chairman and CEO of Proofpoint. 

“We believe that as a private company, we can be even more agile with greater flexibility to continue investing in innovation, building on our leadership position and staying ahead of threat actors.”

The importance of cyber security has risen during the COVID-19 pandemic, as there was an increase in attacks as a result of more employees working remotely.

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According to a report by Trend Micro, there was a 20% increase in cyber security threats during 2020. It found that online criminals looked to exploit the crisis by launching waves of pandemic-related attacks, mostly stemming from spam. There was also a rise in the number of threats targeting employees personal devices, with Trend Micro recording a 210% increase in attacks. 

Furthermore, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) battled a surge in pandemic-related cyber attacks, reporting in November 2020 that over a quarter of all security incidents found in the year before were related to COVID-19. Out of 723 reported incidents, 194 were COVID-related, such as one where a unit of Russian hackers targeted UK companies and universities working on a potential vaccine.

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