Home » U.S. Black billionaire Robert Smith’s Vista takes over KnowBe4 in cash deal

U.S. Black billionaire Robert Smith’s Vista takes over KnowBe4 in cash deal

by Mfonobong Nsehe
Robert Smith

Vista Equity Partners, a leading investment firm specializing in technology and data-focused businesses, has completed its acquisition of KnowBe4, the world’s largest provider of security awareness training and a simulated phishing platform. 

The deal, worth $24.90 per share in cash, was announced by KnowBe4 as a major milestone for the company. 

Stu Sjouwerman, the founder, CEO, and chairman of KnowBe4, expressed his excitement about the acquisition and how Vista will bring the resources and operational expertise to enhance customer value.

Michael Fosnaugh, co-head of Vista’s Flagship Fund and senior managing director, described the acquisition as a “very exciting” opportunity to scale a business that is mission-critical to enterprises worldwide. 

He added that the human element of cybersecurity remains an important yet neglected aspect, and KnowBe4’s product leadership and Sjouwerman’s track record as a visionary founder make it a great partner.

KnowBe4 is used by more than 56,000 organizations globally and helps them address the human aspect of security by raising awareness of ransomware, CEO fraud, and other social engineering tactics through security awareness training. 

The company, founded by Sjouwerman, an IT and data security specialist, relies on the expertise of Chief Hacking Officer Kevin Mitnick to design its training based on his well-known social engineering tactics. 

The completion of the transaction means KnowBe4 shares will no longer be listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market.

Vista Equity Partners is a leading global investment firm led by U.S. Black billionaire Robert Smith.

Smith is a highly successful private equity investor and philanthropist, who has been ranked among the top 100 richest people in the world. 

Smith founded Vista Equity Partners in 2000, with a focus on investing in enterprise software, data, and technology-enabled businesses. 

The firm has since grown into one of the largest technology-focused private equity firms in the world, with more than $95 billion in assets under management as of September 30, 2022.

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