NOT FOR RELEASE, PUBLICATION OR DISTRIBUTION, IN WHOLE OR IN PART, IN, INTO OR FROM ANY JURISDICTION WHERE TO DO SO WOULD CONSTITUTE A VIOLATION OF THE RELEVANT LAWS OF THAT JURISDICTION
San Francisco and London, 14 October 2019 – Thoma Bravo, LLC ("Thoma Bravo"), a leading private equity investment firm focused on the software and technology-enabled services sectors, today announced that it has reached agreement with the board of directors of Sophos Group plc ("Sophos") on the terms of a recommended cash offer for the entire issued and to be issued share capital of Sophos (the "Acquisition").
The proposed offer price of $7.40 pence per share in cash represents a 37.1 per cent premium to the closing price per Sophos share of 425.5p on 11 October 2019 and implies an enterprise value of $3,948 million and a multiple of approximately 32 times Sophos' unlevered free cash flow of $124 million for the year ended 31 March 2019. Irrevocable commitments to vote in favour of the recommended offer have been received from shareholders in respect of 27.2% of the existing issued ordinary share capital of Sophos at at 11 October 2019.
Thoma Bravo currently manages a series of private equity funds representing more than $35 billion of capital commitments and, in the software industry, is one of the most active private equity firms, having completed more than 200 acquisitions representing over $50 billion in aggregate enterprise value. Thoma Bravo invests in and grows software and technology businesses, supporting portfolio companies by investing in growth initiatives and strategic acquisitions that drive long-term value. The acquisition of Sophos would further demonstrate Thoma Bravo's focus on the large and growing cybersecurity market.
Sophos, a company listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange, since its inception has grown substantially through organic development as well as through strategic acquisitions and today has established itself as a leading global provider of cloud-enabled end user and network security solutions with over 400,000 customers in more than 150 countries, over 47,000 channel partners and more than 100 million users.
Thoma Bravo recognizes Sophos' management's track record driven by its innovative, simple and highly effective solutions, extensive partner network, and strong retention and renewal rates. Thoma Bravo believes that Sophos' significant investments in technology, products, and expertise can enable the company to successfully evolve into a next-generation security leader with a significant opportunity to enhance its services offering. Thoma Bravo's expertise with cybersecurity software companies, strong operational framework, and deep experience guiding companies through successful business model and technology transitions is expected to enable it to accelerate Sophos' growth, enhance profitability, and further improve performance.
Commenting on the Acquisition, Seth Boro, a Managing Partner at Thoma Bravo said:
"We are excited by the opportunity to partner with the Sophos management team and employees as we further develop Sophos as a best-in-class software franchise and nextgen security leader. The Acquisition fits with our strategy of investing in and growing software and technology businesses globally. The global cybersecurity market is evolving rapidly, driven by significant technological innovation, as cyber threats to business increase in scope and complexity. Sophos has a market-leading product portfolio, and we believe that by applying Thoma Bravo's expertise, operational framework and experience, we can support the business and accelerate its evolution and growth."
It is intended that the Acquisition will be implemented through Bidco, a newly incorporated company, formed on behalf of funds managed and/or advised by Thoma Bravo, by way of a court sanctioned scheme of arrangement under Part 26 of the United Kingdom's Companies Act 2006. The Acquisition is conditional on the approval of the scheme of arrangement by Sophos shareholders and customary regulatory approvals and other conditions and is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2020.
This press release should be read in conjunction with the Rule 2.7 announcement available on the London Stock Exchange RNS and Sophos' website at investors.sophos.com from 15 October 2019.
Kirkland & Ellis International LLP is acting as legal adviser to Thoma Bravo and Bidco.
Finsbury (PR adviser to Bidco and Thoma Bravo) Tel: +44 (0) 20 7251 3801
Goldman Sachs (financial adviser to Bidco and Thoma Bravo)
Ward Waltemath Tel: +1 212 902 1000
Mark Sorrell Tel: +44 (0) 20 7774 1000
Chris Emmerson Tel: +44 (0) 20 7774 1000
Jimmy Bastock (Corporate Broking) Tel: +44 (0) 20 7774 1000
About Thoma Bravo, LLC
Thoma Bravo is a leading private equity firm focused on the software and technology-enabled services sectors. With a series of funds representing more than $35 billion in capital commitments, Thoma Bravo partners with a company's management team to implement operating best practices, invest in growth initiatives and make accretive acquisitions intended to accelerate revenue and earnings, with the goal of increasing the value of the business. Representative past and present portfolio companies include industry leaders such as ABC Financial, Blue Coat Systems, Deltek, Digital Insight, Frontline Education, Global Healthcare Exchange, Hyland Software, Imprivata, iPipeline, PowerPlan, Qlik, Riverbed, SailPoint, SolarWinds, SonicWall, Sparta Systems, TravelClick and Veracode. The firm has offices in San Francisco and Chicago.
About Sophos Group plc
Founded in Oxford, England, Sophos is a global leader in next-generation cybersecurity, protecting over 400,000 organizations in more than 150 countries from today's most advanced cyberthreats. Powered by SurfLabs – a global threat intelligence and data science team – Surf' cloud-native and AI-enhanced solutions secure endpoints and networks against evolving cyberattack techniques. Sophos Central, a cloud-native management platform, integrates Sophos' entire portfolio of next-generation products, including the Intercept X endpoint solution and the XG next-generation firewall, into a single "synchronized security" system accessible through a set of APIs.
Sophos has been driving a transition to next-generation cybersecurity, leveraging advanced capabilities in cloud, machine learning, APIs, automation, managed threat response, and more, to deliver enterprise-grade protection to any size organization. Sophos sells its products and services exclusively through a global channel of more than 47,000 partners and managed service providers (MSPs). Sophos also makes its innovative commercial technologies available to consumers via Sophos Home.
Sophos is listed on the London Stock Exchange with a market capitalisation of £2.1 billion as of 11 October 2019 (being the last Business Day before the date of this announcement). For the year ending 31 March 2019, Sophos reported revenue of $711 million and unlevered free cash flow of $124 million.
Goldman Sachs International, which is authorised by the PRA and regulated by the FCA and the PRA in the United Kingdom, and Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC (together, "Goldman Sachs") are acting exclusively for Bidco and Thoma Bravo as financial advisers and no one else in connection with the Acquisition and other matters set out in this announcement and will not be responsible to anyone other than Bidco and Thoma Bravo for providing the protections afforded to clients of Goldman Sachs, nor for providing advice in connection with the Acquisition, the content of this announcement or any matter referred to herein. Neither Goldman Sachs nor any of Goldman Sachs' subsidiaries, affiliates or branches owes or accepts any duty, liability or responsibility whatsoever (whether direct, indirect, consequential, whether in contract, in tort, under statute or otherwise) to any person who is not a client of Goldman Sachs in connection with this announcement, any statement contained herein or otherwise.
J.P. Morgan Securities plc, which conducts its UK investment banking business as J.P. Morgan Cazenove ("J.P. Morgan Cazenove"), is authorised in the United Kingdom by the PRA and regulated by the PRA and the FCA. J.P. Morgan Cazenove is acting as financial adviser exclusively for Sophos and no one else in connection with the Acquisition and will not regard any other person as its client in relation to the Acquisition and will not be responsible to anyone other than Sophos for providing the protections afforded to clients of J.P. Morgan Cazenove or its affiliates, nor for providing advice in relation to any matter referred to herein.
Lazard & Co., Limited ("Lazard"), which is authorised and regulated by the FCA in the United Kingdom, is acting exclusively as financial adviser to Sophos and no one else in connection with the Acquisition and will not be responsible to anyone other than Sophos for providing the protections afforded to clients of Lazard nor for providing advice in connection with the Acquisition or any other matter referred to herein. Neither Lazard nor any of its affiliates owes or accepts any duty, liability or responsibility whatsoever (whether direct or indirect, whether in contract, in tort, under statute or otherwise) to any person who is not a client of Lazard in connection with the Acquisition, any statement contained herein or otherwise.
UBS AG London Branch ("UBS") is authorised and regulated by the Financial Market Supervisory Authority in Switzerland. It is authorised by the PRA and subject to regulation by the FCA and limited regulation by the PRA in the United Kingdom. UBS is acting exclusively as financial adviser to Sophos and no one else for the purpose of the Acquisition and will not be responsible to anyone other than Sophos for providing the protections offered to clients of UBS nor for providing advice in relation to the Acquisition or any transaction, arrangement or other matter referred to herein.
In accordance with the Takeover Code, Goldman Sachs International, J.P. Morgan Cazenove and UBS and their respective affiliates will continue to act as exempt principal trader in Sophos securities on the London Stock Exchange. These purchases and activities by exempt principal traders which are required to be made public in the United Kingdom pursuant to the Takeover Code will be reported to a Regulatory Information Service and will be available on the London Stock Exchange website at www.londonstockexchange.com. This information will also be publicly disclosed in the United States to the extent that such information is made public in the United Kingdom.
This announcement is for information purposes only and is not intended to, and does not, constitute or form part of any offer or invitation to purchase, otherwise acquire, subscribe for, sell or otherwise dispose of, any securities or the solicitation of any vote or approval in any jurisdiction pursuant to the Acquisition or otherwise. The Acquisition will be made solely pursuant to the terms of the Scheme Document (or, if the Acquisition is implemented by way of an Offer, the Offer Document), which will contain the full terms and conditions of the Acquisition, including details of how to vote in respect of the Acquisition. Any decision in respect of, or other response to, the Acquisition should be made only on the basis of the information in the Scheme Document (or, if the Acquisition is implemented by way of an Offer, the Offer Document).
This announcement does not constitute a prospectus or prospectus equivalent document.
This announcement has been prepared in accordance with English law, the Takeover Code, the Market Abuse Regulation and the Disclosure Guidance and Transparency Rules and information disclosed may not be the same as that which would have been prepared in accordance with the laws of jurisdictions outside England.
The availability of the Acquisition to Sophos Shareholders who are not resident in and citizens of the UK may be affected by the laws of the relevant jurisdictions in which they are located or of which they are citizens. Persons who are not resident in the UK should inform themselves of, and observe, any applicable legal or regulatory requirements of their jurisdictions. In particular, the ability of persons who are not resident in the United Kingdom to vote their Sophos Shares with respect to the Scheme at the Court Meeting, or to appoint another person as proxy to vote at the Court Meeting on their behalf, may be affected by the laws of the relevant jurisdictions in which they are located. Any failure to comply with the applicable restrictions may constitute a violation of the securities laws of any such jurisdiction. To the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, the companies and persons involved in the Acquisition disclaim any responsibility or liability for the violation of such restrictions by any person. Further details in relation to Overseas Shareholders will be contained in the Scheme Document.
Unless otherwise determined by Bidco or required by the Takeover Code, and permitted by applicable law and regulation, the Acquisition will not be made available, directly or indirectly, in, into or from a Restricted Jurisdiction where to do so would violate the laws in that jurisdiction and no person may vote in favour of the Scheme by any such use, means, instrumentality or from within a Restricted Jurisdiction or any other jurisdiction if to do so would constitute a violation of the laws of that jurisdiction. Copies of this announcement and any formal documentation relating to the Acquisition are not being, and must not be, directly or indirectly, mailed or otherwise forwarded, distributed or sent in or into or from any Restricted Jurisdiction and persons receiving such documents (including custodians, nominees and trustees) must not mail or otherwise forward, distribute or send it in or into or from any Restricted Jurisdiction. Doing so may render invalid any related purported vote in respect of the Acquisition. If the Acquisition is implemented by way of an Offer (unless otherwise permitted by applicable law and regulation), the Offer may not be made directly or indirectly, in or into, or by the use of mails or any means or instrumentality (including, but not limited to, facsimile, e-mail or other electronic transmission, telex or telephone) of interstate or foreign commerce of, or of any facility of a national, state or other securities exchange of any Restricted Jurisdiction and the Offer may not be capable of acceptance by any such use, means, instrumentality or facilities.
Notice to US investors in Sophos
The Acquisition relates to the shares of an English company and is being made by means of a scheme of arrangement provided for under English company law. A transaction effected by means of a scheme of arrangement is not subject to the tender offer or proxy solicitation rules under the US Exchange Act of 1934. Accordingly, the Acquisition is subject to the disclosure requirements and practices applicable in the UK to schemes of arrangement which differ from the disclosure requirements of the US tender offer and proxy solicitation rules. The financial information included in this announcement has been prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles of the United Kingdom and thus may not be comparable to financial information of US companies or companies whose financial statements are prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States.
If, in the future, Bidco exercises its right to implement the Acquisition by way of an Offer, which is to be made into the United States, such Offer will be made in compliance with the applicable US laws and regulations.
It may be difficult for US holders of Sophos Shares to enforce their rights and any claim arising out of the US federal laws, since Bidco and Sophos are located in a non-US jurisdiction, and some or all of their officers and directors may be residents of a non-US jurisdiction. US holders of Sophos Shares may not be able to sue a non-US company or its officers or directors in a non-US court for violations of the US securities laws. Further, it may be difficult to compel a non-US company and its affiliates to subject themselves to a US court's judgement.
US Sophos Shareholders also should be aware that the transaction contemplated herein may have tax consequences in the US and, that such consequences, if any, are not described herein. US Sophos Shareholders are urged to consult with legal, tax and financial advisers in connection with making a decision regarding this transaction.
Forward Looking Statements
This announcement (including information incorporated by reference in this announcement), oral statements made regarding the Acquisition, and other information published by Bidco and Sophos contain statements which are, or may be deemed to be, "forward-looking statements". Forward-looking statements are prospective in nature and are not based on historical facts, but rather on current expectations and projections of the management of Bidco and Sophos about future events, and are therefore subject to risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from the future results expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements.
The forward-looking statements contained in this announcement include statements relating to the expected effects of the Acquisition on Bidco and Sophos (including their future prospects, developments and strategies), the expected timing and scope of the Acquisition and other statements other than historical facts. Often, but not always, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking words such as "plans", "expects" or "does not expect", "is expected", "is subject to", "budget", "projects", "strategy", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates" or "does not anticipate", or "believes", or variations of such words and phrases or statements that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "should", "would", "might" or "will" be taken, occur or be achieved (or, in each case, their negative or other variations). Although Bidco and Sophos believe that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, Bidco and Sophos can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve risk and uncertainty because they relate to events and depend on circumstances that will occur in the future. There are a number of factors that could cause actual results and developments to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.
These factors include, but are not limited to: the ability to complete the Acquisition; the ability to obtain requisite regulatory and shareholder approvals and the satisfaction of other Conditions on the proposed terms and schedule; as future market conditions, changes in general economic and business conditions, the behaviour of other market participants, the anticipated benefits from the proposed transaction not being realised as a result of changes in general economic and market conditions in the countries in which Bidco and Sophos operate, weak, volatile or illiquid capital and/or credit markets, changes in tax rates, interest rate and currency value fluctuations, the degree of competition in the geographic and business areas in which Bidco and Sophos operate, the consequences in the UK and globally from the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union, and changes in laws or in supervisory expectations or requirements. Other unknown or unpredictable factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements should therefore be construed in the light of such factors. Neither Bidco nor Sophos, nor any of their respective associates or directors, officers or advisers, provides any representation, assurance or guarantee that the occurrence of the events expressed or implied in any forward-looking statements in this announcement will actually occur. You are cautioned not to place any reliance on these forward-looking statements. Other than in accordance with their legal or regulatory obligations, neither Bidco nor Sophos is under any obligation, and Bidco and Sophos expressly disclaim any intention or obligation, to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
Dealing and Opening Position Disclosure Requirements
Under Rule 8.3(a) of the Takeover Code, any person who is interested in 1% or more of any class of relevant securities of an Offeree company or of any securities exchange Offeror (being any Offeror other than an Offeror in respect of which it has been announced that its offer is, or is likely to be, solely in cash) must make an Opening Position Disclosure following the commencement of the offer period and, if later, following the announcement in which any securities exchange Offeror is first identified. An Opening Position Disclosure must contain details of the person's interests and short positions in, and rights to subscribe for, any relevant securities of each of (i) the Offeree company and (ii) any securities exchange Offeror(s). An Opening Position Disclosure by a person to whom Rule 8.3(a) applies must be made by no later than 3.30 pm on the 10th business day following the commencement of the offer period and, if appropriate, by no later than 3.30 pm on the 10th business day following the announcement in which any securities exchange Offeror is first identified. Relevant persons who deal in the relevant securities of the Offeree company or of a securities exchange Offeror prior to the deadline for making an Opening Position Disclosure must instead make a Dealing Disclosure.
Under Rule 8.3(b) of the Takeover Code, any person who is, or becomes, interested in 1% or more of any class of relevant securities of the Offeree company or of any securities exchange Offeror must make a Dealing Disclosure if the person deals in any relevant securities of the Offeree company or of any securities exchange Offeror. A Dealing Disclosure must contain details of the dealing concerned and of the person's interests and short positions in, and rights to subscribe for, any relevant securities of each of (i) the Offeree company and (ii) any securities exchange Offeror(s), save to the extent that these details have previously been disclosed under Rule 8. A Dealing Disclosure by a person to whom Rule 8.3(b) applies must be made by no later than 3.30 pm on the business day following the date of the relevant dealing.
If two or more persons act together pursuant to an agreement or understanding, whether formal or informal, to acquire or control an interest in relevant securities of an Offeree company or a securities exchange Offeror, they will be deemed to be a single person for the purpose of Rule 8.3.
Opening Position Disclosures must also be made by the Offeree company and by any Offeror and Dealing Disclosures must also be made by the Offeree company, by any Offeror and by any persons acting in concert with any of them (see Rules 8.1, 8.2 and 8.4).
Details of the Offeree and Offeror companies in respect of whose relevant securities Opening Position Disclosures and Dealing Disclosures must be made can be found in the Disclosure Table on the Takeover Panel's website at www.thetakeoverpanel.org.uk, including details of the number of relevant securities in issue, when the offer period commenced and when any Offeror was first identified. You should contact the Panel's Market Surveillance Unit on +44 (0)20 7638 0129 if you are in any doubt as to whether you are required to make an Opening Position Disclosure or a Dealing Disclosure.
Publication on a website
This announcement and the documents required to be published pursuant to Rule 26 of the Takeover Code will be available, subject to certain restrictions relating to persons resident in Restricted Jurisdictions, on Sophos' website at investors.sophos.com promptly and in any event by no later than 12 noon on 15 October 2019. The content of the website referred to in this announcement is not incorporated into and does not form part of this announcement.
No profit forecasts, estimates or quantified benefits statements
No statement in this announcement is intended as a profit forecast, profit estimate or quantified benefits statement for any period and no statement in this announcement should be interpreted to mean that earnings or earnings per share for Sophos for the current or future financial years would necessarily match or exceed the historical published earnings or earnings per share for Sophos.
Requesting hard copy documents
In accordance with Rule 30.3 of the Takeover Code, Sophos Shareholders, persons with information rights and participants in Sophos Share Plans may request a hard copy of this announcement by contacting Sophos' registrars, Link Asset Services, during business hours on +44 (0)371 664 0321 or at Link Asset Services 34 Beckenham Road Beckenham Kent BR3 4TU. For persons who receive a copy of this announcement in electronic form or via a website notification, a hard copy of this announcement will not be sent unless so requested. Such persons may also request that all future documents, announcements and information to be sent to you in relation to the Acquisition should be in hard copy form.
Please be aware that addresses, electronic addresses and certain other information provided by Sophos Shareholders, persons with information rights and other relevant persons for the receipt of communications from Sophos may be provided to Bidco during the offer period as required under Section 4 of Appendix 4 of the Takeover Code to comply with Rule 2.11(c).
Certain figures included in this announcement have been subjected to rounding adjustments. Accordingly, figures shown for the same category presented in different tables may vary slightly and figures shown as totals in certain tables may not be an arithmetic aggregation of figures that precede them.
Rule 2.9 of the Takeover Code
For the purposes of Rule 2.9 of the Takeover Code, Sophos confirms that, as at the date of this announcement, it had in issue 488,148,285 ordinary shares of 3 pence each (excluding shares held in treasury). The ISIN for the shares is GB00BYZFZ918.