(Bloomberg) -- Shares of Darktrace Plc surged after the UK cybersecurity company said it’s in early discussions with private equity firm Thoma Bravo LP about a possible takeover.
The buyout firm must announce whether it plans to make a bid by Sept. 12, and there’s no certainty that any offer will be made, Darktrace said in a statement on Monday. The company said that it has received “a number of preliminary and conditional proposals,” and that the discussions with the private equity firm are for a cash offer.
“This deal could make sense given Thoma Bravo’s recent activity in the cybersecurity space and an attractive current valuation for shares of Darktrace,” Piper Sandler analyst Rob Owens said in a note to clients.
Darktrace shares jumped 19% at 8:11 a.m. in London trading on Tuesday. The stock had declined 1.3% this year through Monday’s close. The company’s shares have been volatile this year, reaching a high of 511.5 pence in March before tumbling to 287.6 pence in July.
Founded in 2013 by mathematicians and cyber defense experts, Darktrace uses artificial intelligence to check for hacks and suspicious data leaks. Its founding investor was Invoke Capital Partners, an investment firm created by embattled British entrepreneur Mike Lynch.
As a result, any possible takeover talks will likely involve questions about Darktrace’s historic links to Lynch, the former Autonomy Corp. founder who’s fighting criminal fraud charges related to the sale of that company to Hewlett-Packard in 2011. Lynch formed Invoke following the Autonomy sale.
Read more: Lynch’s Legal Woes Barely Dent Loyalists’ $1.7 Billion Fortune
Darktrace warned about potential risks arising from Lynch’s legal battles in the prospectus released ahead of its initial public offering.
(Updates with share move throughout. An earlier version corrected second graph to say that Thoma Bravo must make an offer by Sept. 12)
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