Vista Equity Partners (Vista), a global investment firm for enterprise software, data and technology-enabled businesses, has acquired KnowBe4 for $24.90 per share in cash.
“Today’s acquisition is a significant milestone for the entire KnowBe4 team. It’s representative of our achievements to date, as well as our potential for continued long-term growth,” says Stu Sjouwerman, founder, Chairman and CEO of KnowBe4.
“Vista provides the resources and operational expertise to enhance customer value. We’re thrilled to embark on this next chapter and realise our goals for addressing cybersecurity’s weakest link.”
Completing this transaction means KnowBe4 shares have ceased trading and are no longer listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market.
“The human element remains one of the most important yet neglected aspects of cybersecurity,” says Michael Fosnaugh, Co-Head of Vista’s Flagship Fund and Senior Managing Director.
“The opportunity to scale a business that is truly mission-critical to enterprises around the world is core to Vista’s investment approach and value creation efforts.
"This, combined with Stu’s track record as a visionary founder and KnowBe4’s demonstrated product leadership, makes partnering with the Company very exciting.”
Morgan Stanley & Co. served as financial advisor, and Potter Anderson & Corroon served as legal counsel to KnowBe4’s Special Committee.
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Professional Corporation served as legal advisor to KnowBe4.
Guggenheim Securities served as financial advisor, and Kirkland & Ellis served as legal counsel for Vista.
The completion of this acquisition comes after KnowBe4 announced its 2023 cybersecurity predictions from its team of industry experts.
The top five predicted cybersecurity trends for the coming year include:
A rise in catastrophic attacks on critical infrastructure
It is also likely that a major outage will occur due to critical infrastructure being compromised, especially given the ongoing war in the Ukraine with Russia. This could have the potential to have societal and economic impacts for a large number of people or even an entire nation. A global recession and rising cost of living may also result in digital civil disobedience occurring in the form of people attacking their own government sites or national infrastructure as a form of protest.
Dangerous deepfake attacks will become more convincing and damage reputations
Deepfakes are a dangerous tool used to build a level of trust, convincing unsuspecting people to accept the words and actions of someone at face value. Organisations do not have a deep level of understanding about the dangers this can present regarding reputation and thus do not yet train their employees enough on the topic, according to KnowBe4.
Larger attack surface introduces new threats with the Metaverse
There is an increasing number of threat vectors that are subsequently creating a larger attack surface, making it more difficult to adequately protect organisations worldwide. With the proliferation of the Metaverse, there are more opportunities for cyber criminals to perpetrate attacks.
A shift in focus to creating a security culture within organisations
The need for security awareness training is now clear to most organisations and they are starting to evolve from just training to additional emphasis on behaviour and culture, the company states.
There has been a positive momentum toward building a strong security culture globally that involves support from executives and the employee base as a whole. A new social engineering battleground purported by an increase in social media scams Social media scams will blossom, putting friends, family, organisations and colleagues at risk.
According to KnowBe4, with the ever-growing industry of social media commerce and marketplaces, people will be relying even more on indicators of trust, such as how many connections an account has and how long the account has been active, making them susceptible to scams that use stolen social media accounts to trick individuals and organisations. Also, with official verification now for sale for a small fee on various platforms, scammers are sure to take advantage.