(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.
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) July 29, 2019
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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