News

Tripwire acquired by investment firm

Robert Westervelt, News Director

Tripwire has announced that it is being acquired by private equity investment firm Thoma Bravo. Financial details were not disclosed.

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We feel strongly that the Tripwire team will be a valuable partner as we solidify the company's leadership position in IT security and compliance automation.

Seth Boro, partner, Thoma Bravo

The acquisition, announced Wednesday, is expected to close by the end of May. Portland, Ore.-based Tripwire sells log management and security information and event management (SIEM) software. The Tripwire VIA suite includes its flagship product, Tripwire Enterprise, which automates compliance and configuration management and Tripwire Log Center.

Tripwire was pursuing an initial public stock offering, but abandoned plans for an IPO due to slowing growth in recent quarters.  The deal will give Tripwire the cash it needs to continue to grow the company, said James B. Johnson, president and CEO of Tripwire. The company expanded its log management capabilities last year, entering the SIEM market with the introduction of Tripwire Log Center.

In an interview with SearchSecurity.com, Johnson acknowledged that growth had been “relatively flat” in recent quarters, but said the deal enables the company to gain access to capital and at the same time maintain the flexibility and agility of a private company. Some investors had been with the company for 13 years and it was time for them to get liquidity out, Johnson said.

“We’re very focused on maintaining an aggressive posture on our roadmap,” Johnson said. “It’s very critical for us to continue to deliver a high level of support to our customers and our technical team is very strong and very diverse.”

Johnson said the company plans strategic acquisitions and partnerships to help bolster its product line over a four to six year horizon. The goal is to create a consistent interface between its portfolio while adding controls that add more value to customers, he said. In addition to adding controls around data at rest, Johnson said the company will look at partnerships with other security infrastructure vendors. User access, file access and database monitoring are areas of interest, he said.

When asked if the company plans to streamline its operations, Johnson said Thoma Bravo has great operational experience and “there will be changes at Tripwire,” but added that he is confident that the company’s engineering team is will remain.

Tripwire said it has over 5,700 customers and serves 46% of Fortune 500 companies.

Mike Rothman, analyst and president of security consultancy Securosis, said he doesn’t see Tripwire as a stand-alone security company. In a blog entry, Rothman said Tripwire may have to “fold into a more comprehensive offering.”

“Thoma Bravo now controls a significant security portfolio, and with a few more strategic acquisitions (like monitoring, endpoint protection, and professional services/integration) they could legitimately have enough to compete with Big Security,” Rothman wrote.

Thoma Bravo has made more than 30 acquisitions over the last five years. The company acquired messaging security appliance vendor Entrust in 2009 and system management vendor LANDesk Software last summer as well as firewall vendor SonicWall.

Seth Boro, partner at Thoma Bravo, said the investment firm saw a strong management team and solid brand reputation in Tripwire. Borro said the goal is to accelerate growth of the company.

"We feel strongly that the Tripwire team will be a valuable partner as we solidify the company's leadership position in IT security and compliance automation," Boro said in a statement.

The last major security vendor to be acquired by a private equitfy firm was UK-based endpoint security firm Sophos, which was acquired last year by Apax Partners. Sophos continues to operate independently of Apax.


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