Mergers & Money: Email Security Proves Popular In Dealmaking And The...

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Email security can often get lost in the noise of other sexier offerings in the larger cybersecurity sector. However, that is not the case this quarter, where private equity and even the stock market itself has shown it a lot of love.
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Editor's note: This is Mergers & Money, a monthly column by Senior Reporter Chris Metinko that covers dealmaking in the enterprise tech space.

In an industry with popular buzzwords like "zero-day" and "honeypots," and more acronyms than one can shake a stick at, email security can sometimes get lost in the noise.

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However, that is not the case this quarter when it comes to private equity and even the stock market itself. Email security has seen big deals and even a related IPO as the market grows with companies continuing to look for ways to keep employee communications safe — even as a pandemic has separated many from the IT and security professionals that in the past helped keep them safe.

Thoma Bravo made history in April when it announced it would take Sunnyvale, California-based Proofpoint private — after the company had spent nearly a decade trading on the public market — in a $12.3 billion deal. The acquisition was the largest in cybersecurity history, beating out Broadcom's $10.7 billion purchase in 2019 of another well-known email security provider, Symantec, which sold its enterprise division in the transaction.

Then just this month, private equity popped up again in a major cybersecurity deal when the Symphony Technology Group (STG) agreed to buy FireEye's enterprise security division — which includes its email business — for the tidy sum of $1.2 billion. That came just a few months after STG bought McAfee's enterprise business for $4 billion.

Other smaller deals in the space include Leesburg, Virginia-based Cofense buying Israel-based anti-phishing provider Cyberfish and Eden Prairie, Minnesota-based HelpSystems acquiring Foster City, California-based email security provider Agari. Terms of those deals were not disclosed.

None of that even touches on KnowBe4's solid IPO showing. While the Clearwater, Florida-based company specializes in cybersecurity awareness…
Chris Metinko
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