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Thoma Bravo Acquires Crossbeam Systems

Thoma Bravo Aiming for SonicWall Repeat With Latest Deal

Michael Wursthorn

Thoma Bravo appears to be looking to duplicate the success it had with former portfolio company SonicWall Inc. as it snaps up yet another network security company.

The firm on Friday acquired Boxborough, Mass.-based Crossbeam Systems Inc., according to a statement announcing the deal. Terms weren’t disclosed, however the buyout firm typically invests at least $25 million in equity in companies with more than $10 million in Ebitda.

Crossbeam provides open architecture network security platforms, known as its X-Series, that run software such as McAfee. Its customers include hotel chain Motel 6, auto maker Volkswagen Group and The Weather Channel . Before its acquisition by Thoma Bravo, the company found support from the venture capital community and raised more than $100 million from investors including Charles River Ventures , Commonwealth Capital Ventures , Focus Ventures and Intel Capital .

The company had revenue of $100 million for 2011, not including money gained from software licenses, according to an industry report available on Crossbeam’s website. Thoma Bravo plans to build upon that by employing an add-on growth strategy to bolster Crossbeam’s current offerings, according to additional information provided by a firm spokesman.

With this deal, Crossbeam will be shedding its venture backers for Thoma Bravo, the spokesman confirmed.

Both Thoma Bravo and Crossbeam declined to comment for this story.

Thoma Bravo’s acquisition of Crossbeam comes about six months since the private equity firm sold SonicWall to Dell Inc. for about $1.2 billion. Thoma Bravo, which acquired SonicWall alongside Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan , reaped a generous return from that investment.

According to a 2011 document observed by LBO Wire, Thoma Bravo’s equity investment in SonicWall in 2010 was $115 million from its ninth fund. That deal was valued at $717 million. It wasn’t clear how much of the proceeds from SonicWall’s sale went directly to Thoma Bravo, but the firm’s modest equity contribution likely made the deal worth repeating.

Crossbeam operates in the unified threat market, a sector that is estimated to have had $2.1 billion in product revenue for 2011, a 20% increase over the earlier year, according to research company IDC Corp.

To continue to expand its presence in the market, Crossbeam is expected to “invest heavily” in its X-Series platform going forward, according to information provided by Thoma Bravo’s spokesman.

The acquisition of Crossbeam is the latest in a string of acquisitions by the firm. Last month, it closed its $1.1 billion take-private purchase of Deltek Inc ., and agreed a month earlier to buy health-care tech business Mediware Information Systems Inc. for $194.6 million.

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