Web security and WAN optimisation vendor Blue Coat has sold up for $1.3bn (£832m) to private equity player Thoma Bravo.
The price represents a 48 per cent premium on Blue Coat's market capitalisation as of the close of trading yesterday. The vendor's directors have green-lighted the deal and recommended that shareholders do likewise. Thoma Bravo leads an investor group including the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan.
The Chicagoan private equity house already has a number of major holdings in the tech space, including security vendors Tripwire and Sonicwall. The latter recently bought its way into the WAN optimisation space with its acquisition of certain technologies from fallen vendor DBAM Systems.
Orlando Bravo, managing partner at Thoma Bravo, said: "As a private company, Blue Coat will be better positioned to innovate at an accelerated rate and achieve a higher level of growth."
During Blue Coat's first fiscal quarter of FY12, which ran to the end of July, revenue slumped 11 per cent annually to $109.5m, while profits fell more than $10m to $2.7m. Chief executive Michael Borman fell on his sword after less than a year in the hotseat. He was replaced by Dascom founder Gregory Clark.
"Our partnership with Thoma Bravo will assist Blue Coat in more aggressively realising the opportunities in its two markets, by providing a platform that enables greater focus on the business that supports the future growth of the company," said Clark.
Niall McGrane, general manager UK at Blue Coat distributor Westcon Security, admitted the vendor had been struggling for a while and was not surprised by the announcement.
"This has been on the cards for a while," he said. "Most people were aware that something like this had to happen. Overall it is probably a good thing, but it depends on what they do with the technology. We wait to see a statement of intent from the investors."
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