Sophos IPO: London’s biggest ever tech float The flotation of Sophos this summer sees the Oxfordshire based company become the latest UK tech “unicorn” on… Read more
Sophos IPO: London’s biggest ever tech float
The flotation of Sophos this summer sees the Oxfordshire based company become the latest UK tech “unicorn” on the block. The company joins the likes of Zoopla, TransferWise, Just Eat and Asos that became “unicorns” when they floated with valuations of $1billion or more. Sophos revealed on 26 June that the offer price for their flotation valued the market capitalisation of the company at £1.013 billion – making their initial public offering the largest flotation by a UK technology company to date.
The flotation of Sophos, a cybersecurity provider which sells antivirus software, firewall hardware and other security products, comes at a time when hacking, data breaches and cybercrime is becoming increasingly prevalent and cyber-attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Recent high-profile hacks include the release of employee information, executive salaries and copies of previously unreleased films belonging to Sony Pictures Entertainment in November 2014 and the theft of millions of customers’ credit card details from Target stores in 2013. One of the largest retail hacks in US corporate history, the attack cost Target $10 million to settle a class action lawsuit.
Notwithstanding the increased focus on cybersecurity, the valuation of Sophos only serves to highlight the thriving technology sector in the UK and to underline the UK as a serious player in the technology industry. Ed Vaizey, the minister of state for culture and the digital economy, considered the Sophos IPO as heralding a “renaissance of technology investment in the UK” and a benchmark for other UK cyber-companies to aspire to.
Prior to floatation, Sophos was majority-owned by Apax Partners and other investors. The company has long had listing ambitions and had tried to float twice previously – in 2007, it shelved its plans to float due to the unfavourable economic climate and in 2009, it opted to sell a majority stake to Apax Partners rather than list.
Sophos initially priced its shares at 225p, which it estimated would raise approximately US$125million of gross proceeds to reduce overall indebtedness and provide the company with “greater financial flexibility to drive the future growth of the business.” Early indications are that this flotation has been successful. Sophos offered approximately 35% of the Company’s issued share capital, with admission to the London Stock Exchange on 1 July, when the share price jumped up nearly 7% above its initial public offering price.
For more information, please contact Charles Claisse, Head of Corporate.
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Charles Claisse is the head of corporate
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