IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Thoma Bravo Buys Barracuda Networks

Announced at a time of accelerating vendor consolidation, the $1.6 billion deal adds a major security and backup player to a portfolio of holdings that already included Continuum, SolarWinds, and Bomgar, as well as a minority stake in McAfee. By Rich Freeman

Security and backup vendor Barracuda Networks Inc., of Campbell, Calif., has agreed to be acquired by Chicago-based private equity firm Thoma Bravo LLC, in an all-cash transaction valued at $1.6 billion.

The deal adds a well-known security and backup vendor with a strong background in safeguarding cloud environments and a recently re-branded managed services arm to an expanding portfolio of vendors well known among channel pros.

In June, Thoma Bravo bought managed services software maker Continuum from fellow equity investor Summit Partners for an undisclosed sum. It also purchased SolarWinds Worldwide LLC—and with it the SolarWinds MSP unit that now houses the former N-able and LOGICnow product lines—for $4.5 billion last year, in partnership with affiliates of venture capital firm Silver Lake Partners.

Thoma Bravo owns secure access vendor Bomgar and holds a minority stake in security vendor McAfee LLC as well.

“Barracuda is a proven industry leader, consistently bringing powerful, comprehensive solutions to customers in an increasingly prevalent, hostile, and complex threat environment,” said Seth Boro, a managing partner at Thoma Bravo, in prepared remarks. “We believe that Barracuda is at the forefront of innovation in several highly strategic areas of the cybersecurity market and are excited to be the company’s partner in the next phase of its growth.”

Barracuda, for its part, said that embracing private ownership would arm the company for faster growth. The company’s revenues rose seven percent on a year-over-year basis in its most recently completed fiscal quarter.

“We believe the proposed transaction offers an opportunity for us to accelerate our growth with our industry-leading security platform that’s purpose-built for highly distributed, diverse cloud and hybrid environments,” said Barracuda CEO BJ Jenkins in a press statement that downplayed the possibility of disruption to the company’s strategy and roadmap.

“We will continue Barracuda’s tradition of delivering easy-to-use, full-featured solutions that can be deployed in the way that makes sense for our customers,” Jenkins said. “Thoma Bravo has an excellent history of investing in growing security businesses, and this transaction speaks to the value and strength of Barracuda’s security platform, which helps customers protect and manage their networks, applications, and data. I expect that our employees, customers, and partners will benefit from this partnership.”

Thoma Bravo’s latest acquisition comes at a time of accelerating consolidation among key players in the SMB channel. In October, to cite a recent and prominent example, business continuity vendor Datto Inc. agreed to be purchased by Vista Equity Partners, which merged it with managed services software maker Autotask Corp.

“Today’s news is a strong indication of the growing demand for MSP-centric solutions for storage and backup,” said Datto Chief Marketing Officer Peter Rawlinson in prepared remarks provided to ChannelPro. “The recent merger between Datto and Autotask puts us in a very strong position to address the backup and recovery needs of hundreds of thousands of small businesses globally through MSPs. I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of the activity in this market.”

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