Vista Equity Partners to acquire cybersecurity company KnowBe4 for $4.6B

Vista Equity Partners has agreed to a $4.6 billion all-cash deal to acquire KnowBe4, a publicly traded cybersecurity company specializing in helping enterprise workers avoid phishing attacks.

“Under Vista’s ownership, we will have access to additional resources and support, which will help us achieve our goals and deliver enhanced value to our customers,” KnowBe4 founder and CEO Stu Sjouwerman noted in a press release.

Founded in 2010, Clearwater, Florida-based KnowBe4 delivers simulated phishing attacks via the browser, offering a range of programs spanning videos, games, interactive modules and more. It’s all about getting workers to know how to spot an attack, and reduce the “human error” factor from a company’s attack surface.

The company hit the public markets in 2021 after raising more than $300 million in VC funding, but its shares have performed somewhat tepidly in the intervening months, hovering at around the $20 mark (give or take) since its IPO. Vista Equity Partners’ offer of $24.90 per share represents a premium of around 44% on KnowBe4’s $17 closing price on September 16, the date at which Vista first made its proposed bid.

Today’s news represents KnowBe4’s agreement to be acquired after the company set up a special committee to assess the initial proposal and potential alternative deals. It still has to be approved by the shareholders, but the company said that it expects the deal to close in the first half of 2023.