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Vista Equity Partners to acquire KnowBe4 for $4.6B

Veronica Brezina



KnowBe4 was featured on at Nasdaq's Times Square site on April 22, in honor of the company's initial public offering. File photo.

Vista Equity Partners has agreed to acquire Clearwater-based cybersecurity training company KnowBe4 in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $4.6 billion on an equity value basis.

Last month, KnowBe4 (Nasdaq: KNBE), the provider of the world’s largest security awareness training and simulated phishing platform, announced that Austin, Texas-based Vista Equity Partners has made the company a buyout offer of $24 per share in cash, and that KnowBe4 was creating a special committee to assess the proposed deal.

The deal must be approved by the shareholders; however, the company executives said that it expects the deal to close in the first half of 2023.

“Under Vista’s ownership, we will have access to additional resources and support, which will help us achieve our goals and deliver enhanced value to our customers,” KnowBe4 founder and CEO Stu Sjouwerman said in a Wednesday press release.

Per the terms of the merger agreement, KnowBe4 stockholders will receive $24.90 per share in cash upon completion of the proposed transaction. The per share purchase price represents a 44% premium to the company’s unaffected closing price on Sept. 16, the last full trading day before Vista publicly disclosed its initial non-binding acquisition proposal, according to the news release. 

“As a significant investor in KnowBe4, we could not be more excited to take this next step in our journey together,” Rod Aliabadi, managing director at Vista, said in a news release. “We have long appreciated the work that KnowBe4 does in strengthening the human layer of cybersecurity through educating employees on how to identify social engineering and related cyber threats.”

Prior to receiving the offer, KnowBe4, which went public in 2021, 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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