Virginia–based Cofense in talks to be acquired by BlackRock: report - Technical.ly DC

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Jul. 31, 2019 11:12 am

Virginia–based Cofense in talks to be acquired by BlackRock: report

BlackRock is an existing investor in the Leesburg, Va.–based cybersecurity firm, but would take over full operation of the startup, Reuters reported.
Cybersecurity.

Cybersecurity.

(Photo by Flickr user Yuri Samoilov, used under a Creative Commons license)

Leesburg, Va.–based cybersecurity startup Cofense is in “advanced talks” to be acquired by BlackRock, a global investment management company, Reuters reported. Cofense protects email users from phishing attacks and earlier this year, it released a new product.

BlackRock is already a lead investor in the cybersecurity startup, with a 30% stake, along with private equity firm Pamplona Capital Management. BlackRock would buy the other major share of the company from Pamplona, which amounts to 47%. The pair led the buy of Cofense in 2018, when the company was named PhishMe, in a deal valued at $400 million.

Reuters reported that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) asked the UK-based investment firm to sell its stake in Cofense. Pamplona launched an auction for its stake in Cofense in October 2018 as a result of the warning from CFIUS, which was 10 short months after it originally acquired Cofense with BlackRock.

BlackRock seems to be the front-runner to buy Pamplona’s share and if it does, it will take over as the lead investor and owner of Cofense. CFIUS originally gave Pamplona until July 19 to reach a selling, deal but that time has passed. Reuters reported that Pamplona and BlackRock are in the negotiation phase to solidify the financial terms.

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