Security vendor Ping Identity to be acquired for US$2.4 billion

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Security vendor Ping Identity to be acquired for US$2.4 billion

Private equity firm Thoma Bravo is buying Ping Identity for US$2.4 billion, deepening a bet on the cybersecurity sector that has been one of the big winners of the pandemic.

The deal announced on Wednesday values each share of Ping Identity at $28.50, a premium of 63 percent to the last closing price of the company whose authentication and security services are used by businesses from Chevron Corp to HP Inc.

Thoma Bravo has been on a shopping spree for cybersecurity firms in recent years, with its acquisitions including Sophos, Proofpoint and Sailpoint Technologies.

Analysts said the latest purchase - which has an equity value of $2.4 billion, according to a Reuters calculation - could work well with Thoma Bravo's other acquisitions because of similar areas of focus.

"We could foresee them all being stitched together as an all-in-one identity platform at some point," D.A. Davidson analyst Rudy Kessinger said, adding the deal was "one of the least surprising acquisitions" he has ever seen.

Thoma Bravo, whose assets under management total more than $114 billion, has also bought software firms such as Anaplan Inc in the past few years.

Ping Identity's shares surged over 60 percent on Wednesday. The company's biggest shareholder is Vista Equity Partners with a stake of nearly 10 percent, according to Refinitiv data.

Vista had bought Ping Identity in 2016 and then taken it public three years later in an initial public offering that valued the company at $1.16 billion.

Vista has agreed to vote in favour of the deal, which has an enterprise value of $2.8 billion, Ping Identity said.

(Reporting by Nivedita Balu and Akash Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Aditya Soni)

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