Blue Coat Swaps Private Investors For $2.4bn

Private investment giant Bain Capital is set to acquire enterprise security firm Blue Coat Systems for a whopping $2.4bn, in a deal which could help accelerate the latter’s return to the public markets.

The all-cash deal will see Bain Capital buy the security player from Thoma Bravo, another private investment firm which acquired Blue Coat in 2011.

Back then, Blue Coat said it wanted to go private because it wished to invest in long-term development projects away from the scrutiny of shareholders.  

It certainly has made the most of the past few years, acquiring first scalable network security player Crossbeam Systems, and then the SSL appliance product line from flow processing specialist Netronome.

It also bought network analytics-based security firm Solera Networks and zero day sandboxing firm Norman Shark in 2013.

Now it seems Blue Coat feels the time is right to prepare for IPO – although there was no confirmation as to its intent here or a possible date.

Blue Coat claimed in a release outlining its acquisition that it counts 80% of the Fortune 500 as customers, and that it has managed to amass the largest cloud security infrastructure in the world.

“The world’s most trusted brands use Blue Coat, and the acquisition by Bain Capital sets us on the trajectory to further grow our portfolio, better serve our customers and help us prepare to return to the public markets,” said Blue Coat CEO Gregory Clark in a statement.

“Bain Capital has a long history of accelerating growth, and I look forward to partnering with them in our journey to be one of the top performing security companies in the world.”

Blue Coat has timed the deal well with demand for established security players exceedingly high thanks to an annus horribilis for many US firms in 2014.

The number of recorded data breaches last year hit a record high of 783, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center – a 27.5% increase over 2013 with the likes of Home Depot, Staples, JPMorgan, PF Chang’s and many more all found wanting.

The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2015.

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