Home » Billionaire Robert Smith’s Vista Equity offers $4.22 billion to acquire Florida cybersecurity firm, KnowBe4

Billionaire Robert Smith’s Vista Equity offers $4.22 billion to acquire Florida cybersecurity firm, KnowBe4

by Omokolade Ajayi
Robert F. Smith

Vista Equity Partners, an international investment firm led by America’s richest Black businessman Robert Smith, has made an all-cash offer of $4.22 billion to acquire KnowBe4, a Florida cybersecurity software maker, as private equity firms continue to profit from the decline in the valuation of technology companies.

KnowBe4 is the first and largest new-school security awareness platform in the world. It offers security awareness training through simulated phishing attacks and assists businesses in managing the ongoing problem of “social engineering.”

For context, social engineering is the art of manipulating, influencing, or deceiving companies to gain control of their computer systems. To gain illegal access, the hacker may use the phone, e-mail, snail mail, or direct contact.

The proposed offer by Vista Equity, which translates to $24 per share in cash, or about $4.22 billion, has sent shares of the cybersecurity software maker up more than 25 percent since the start of trading activities on the NASDAQ stock exchange this week.

The non-binding proposal represents a 39-percent premium to KnowBe4’s Friday closing share price, and Vista Equity Partners has formed a special committee to oversee the acquisition as part of the move to complete the planned acquisition.

Vista Equity’s private equity and permanent capital portfolios added 11 new portfolio businesses and completed 18 add-on transactions in the first half of 2022 across the Flagship, Foundation, Endeavor, and Perennial Funds.

During the period under review, the company maintained an excellent pace, including the sale of Datto in a $6-billion take-private transaction.

It also announced the acquisition of Citrix, as well as more than 35 additional transactions across its private equity, permanent capital, credit, and public investment strategies.

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