At a glance.
- Dell confirms it's thinking about spinning off majority stake in VMware.
- Darktrace prepares for an IPO in London.
- Auth0 closes $120 million Series F round.
- Business implications of the Twitter hack.
- LinkedIn plans layoffs.
Mergers and acquisitions.
Dell Technologies confirmed reports that it's "in an early stage" of considering spinning off its 81% stake in VMware, according to CRN. The company said in an SEC filing that its goal in spinning off VMware "would be to (1) maintain VMware’s credit rating of investment grade and (2) improve Dell Technologies’ credit rating at, or shortly following consummation of, the spin-off." CRN also cites sources to the effect that in the case of a spin-off, "Dell Technologies CEO and VMware Chairman Michael Dell and his private equity partner Silver Lake will retain approximately 53 percent majority stake in VMware," although Michael Dell and Silver Lake declined to comment on this.
Sunnyvale, California-headquartered network security company Fortinet has acquired Virginia-based SASE provider OPAQ Networks for an undisclosed amount. According to SiliconANGLE, Fortinet plans to "combine OPAQ's zero trust network access solution to its existing SASE offering to provide better services to its customers."
Minnesota-based IT management software company HelpSystems has signed an agreement to acquire Texas-based secure managed file transfer company GlobalSCAPE for $217 million (including debt), the San Antonio Express-News reports. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2020, and "is structured as a tender offer followed by a merger."
Arizona-headquartered cybersecurity consulting firm Cerberus Sentinel has acquired Virginia-based FedRAMP-authorized risk management and compliance firm TalaTek. TalaTek says it "will continue to focus on providing integrated risk management services to the federal government and private sector." Under the new organizational structure, TalaTek's president and founder Baan Alsinawi is now a Managing Director at Cerberus Sentinel.
Sydney-based IT and security consultancy Accelera Group has acquired cloud security and DevOps provider Ayenem for an undisclosed amount. Accelera says "[t]he acquisition fills a significant gap in the market for migrating organisations to public cloud and providing continuous support."
Chicago-based managed IT services company Ascend Technologies has signed a merger agreement with Nebraska-based information security services provider Infogressive. The deal is backed by private equity firm M/C Partners. Ascend's CEO Wayne Kiphart stated, "The merger will significantly bolster Ascend's established strengths in cloud and infrastructure, application management, data management and cybersecurity." Infogressive's CEO Justin Kallhoff said, "For Infogressive, the merger means we can invest in growing our areas of competency in cybersecurity while ensuring our existing clients and partners gain from Ascend's extensive breadth of offerings and broader geographic presence."
Switzerland-headquartered backup and disaster-recovery firm Acronis has acquired San Ramon, California-based data loss prevention software provider DeviceLock. According to the company's press release, "Acronis will integrate DeviceLock's technology into the Acronis Cyber Platform, making new services available through the Acronis Cyber Cloud Solutions portal. At the same time, Acronis will continue to work on new versions of the DeviceLock DLP complex while maintaining full technical support." DeviceLock's CTO and founder Ashot Oganesyan stated, "By merging with Acronis, we can accelerate product innovation, expand our distribution channel, and leverage our existing technology to meet customer requirements."
UK-based telecommunications equipment provider Arrow Business Communications has acquired IT security security and storage provider Altinet (also based in the UK), Insider Media Limited reports. CRN notes that this is Arrow's first acquisition since the company secured a £50 million investment from MML Capital Partners in January.
Investments and exits.
UK-based cyber defense firm Darktrace is preparing to choose banks to lead its IPO on the London Stock Exchange next year, Sky News reports. Sky News says the IPO will likely value the company at "well over" £1.5 billion and probably close to £2 billion.
Washington-based authentication platform provider Auth0 has raised $120 million in a Series F round led by Salesforce Ventures, with participation from DTCP and existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Sapphire Ventures, Meritech Capital, Trinity Ventures, World Innovation Lab, Telstra Ventures, and K9 Ventures, Crunchbase News reports. The round brings the company's valuation to $1.92 billion. Auth0's CEO Eugenio Pace told Crunchbase that the company will use the funding to expand its global presence, particularly in central Europe, the Nordics, and Southeast Asia.
Canada- and California-based managed detection and response firm GoSecure has raised $20 million in a Series E round led by Yaletown Partners and Bank of Montreal, along with existing investors SAP/NS2 and Razor’s Edge. GoSecure will use the funds "to accelerate growth across North America."
London-based cybersecurity compliance firm CyberSmart has raised £5.5 million (US$7 million) in a Series A round led by IQ Capital and individual investors. The company's CEO Jamie Akhtar said the investment will be used "to fund our next stage of growth." CyberSmart got its start as a participant in the National Cyber Security Centre's Cyber Accelerator in 2017.
NortonLifeLock has appointed Krista Todd to the newly created role of Vice President of Marketing and Communications, PRovoke reports. Todd previously worked for Logitech for nine years, most recently as Vice President of Global Communications.
Acceptto has added John Zangardi to its Board of Technical and Strategic Advisory. Zangardi is currently president of Redhorse Corporation, and previously served as CIO for the US Department of Homeland Security before transitioning to the private sector.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has added Tarah Wheeler to its advisory board. Wheeler is currently an International Security Fellow at the New America think tank’s International Security Program.
Bitdefender has hired Steve Kelley as President and General Manager of its newly formed Business Solutions Group and Chris Brazdziunas as Senior Vice President of Product and Service Engineering. Kelley was most recently Chief Revenue Officer for GoSecure, while Brazdziunas was previously Chief Product Officer for ThreatX.
Malwarebytes has hired Jordan Ryan as Vice President of International Sales for the EMEA and APAC regions, Silicon Republic reports. Ryan was most recently Vice President of Sales for EMEA at AT&T Cybersecurity (previously called AlienVault) where he served in executive sales positions since 2014.
Arceo has hired Charles J. "CJ" Pruzinsky as Executive Vice President and Chief Underwriting Officer for the company's US operations. Pruzinsky previously managed Beazley Group's Northeastern operations.
Kovrr has added Visesh Gosrani to its advisory board. Gosrani currently runs Cydelta, a cyber risk consultancy, and serves as Chair of the Institute and Faculty of the Actuaries Cyber Risk Working Party.
Companies in the news.
Twitter sustained a major hack last Wednesday in which a number of high-profile, verified Twitter accounts began posting bitcoin scams. The accounts affected included those belonging to Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Apple, Uber, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Warren Buffet, and Michael Bloomberg, as well as the Twitter accounts used by major cryptocurrency exchanges and sites (Gemini, Coinbase, Binance, KuCoin, TRON Foundation, CoinDesk). The attacks appear to have been the work of small-time cybercriminals who gained access to internal company tools, although Twitter and the FBI are still investigating. Many observers noted that the effects of such a breach could have been much worse or even dangerous, and the incident dealt a serious blow to Twitter's reputation. The company's stock fell 3.2% following the incident, according to Barron's.
LinkedIn plans to lay off around 6% of its workforce (about 960 employees) due the pandemic's effect on demand for recruitment services, the Wall Street Journal reports. The layoffs will affect the company's global sales and talent acquisition teams.
The Information reports that some of Beijing-based ByteDance's investors in the US are in preliminary discussions with the company's executives to buy a majority stake in TikTok in order to distance the app from China.