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KnowBe4 receives $4.2B offer to go private

Veronica Brezina

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From left: Jeremiah Daly, Lars Letonoff, Krish Venkataraman ring the Nasdaq opening bell as KnowBe4 goes public. File photo.

Clearwater-based cybersecurity firm KnowBe4 is entertaining a non-binding proposal from Vista Equity Partners to take it private for $4.22 billion in cash. 

KnowBe4 (NASDAQ: KNBE) announced Austin, Texas-based Vista Equity Partners has made the company a buyout offer of $24 per share in cash, a 39% premium over Friday’s closing price of $17.30. The deal values the company at $4.22 billion.

KnowBe4, which bills itself as the world’s largest cybersecurity awareness training and simulated phishing platform, first went public in April 2021 at $16 per share.  

In response to the inquiry from Vista, KnowBe4’s board formed a special committee comprised solely of independent directors to engage with Vista and take other actions that it deems appropriate, with the assistance of independent financial and legal advisors, according to KnowBe4. 

The special committee will review the Vista proposal and other potential value creation opportunities to determine the course of action that it believes is in the best interests of KnowBe4 and its stockholders.

“There is no certainty that any transaction will be consummated, and KnowBe4 does not intend to comment further until the special committee has concluded its review,” according to KnowBe4.

Morgan Stanley and Co. LLC is serving as financial advisor to the committee, and Delaware firm Potter Anderson and Corroon will serve as the committee’s legal advisor.

As the news surfaced Monday morning, KnowBe4’s stock rose 28% to $22.16, giving the company a market value of about $3.9 billion, according to Bloomberg. 

Prior to receiving the offer, KnowBe4 has made recent strategic moves in the marketplace. In late 2021, it completed the acquisition of California-based SecurityAdvisor for approximately $80 million. Earlier this year, it launched its capital investment arm, KnowBe4 Ventures, which invests in security startups focused on strengthening and supporting the human aspect of cybersecurity.

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    Donna Kostreva

    September 19, 2022at4:27 pm

    I guess it pays to be a follower of Scientology. To work at this company you must pass the Scientology tests to see if you are like minded. What a creepy name. Know before.

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