Bitdefender could revisit IPO amid growth plans

Breaking News 25 October

Bitdefender could revisit IPO amid growth plans

Romanian cybersecurity company Bitdefender could revisit plans for a US IPO, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

No timeline has been set for a potential listing of the company, which is 30%-owned by Vitruvian Partners, with a deal window ranging from 2024 to anytime within the next two years, depending on market conditions, the sources said.  

A rough ride for some high-profile US listings including Arm [NASDAQ:ARM] and Birkenstock [NYSE:BIRK] – compounded with geopolitical volatility – has seen some IPO candidates revaluate near-term listing plans.  

The company has recently gone through an internal reorganisation and sources previously told this news service that the company was considering strategic options. 

Renewed discussions around an IPO have emerged off the back of Bitdefender’s rapid expansion and a growing M&A pipeline, with the business expected to increase in size over the coming years, one of the sources said.

BitDefender has a Likely To Exit (LTE) score of 35 out of 100, according to Mergermarket’s predictive algorithm.*

The owners are unlikely to opt for a local listing, according to two sector advisers. Half of its revenues and client base is in the US, one adviser noted, meaning the listing there makes the most sense. “This is a candidate that could be well rewarded by the US investor base in this climate,” the adviser said.

Cybersecurity is an attractive sector, particularly in the context of international defence given geopolitical tensions, one of the advisors added.  

Bitdefender has long been IPO-ready. It has grown both organically and inorganically and built out a large long-term customer base both in the private and public sector with a solid patent track record, the adviser added.

It has also been acquisitive with a slew of deals in recent years.

In 2021, the company appointed JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley to lead a dual-track process with an IPO the preferred option, as reported at the time.

One of the sources said these banks could be retained for the IPO, if it goes ahead, and a sector banker said they expected more advisors to be added closer to the listing.

Vitruvian, the company's second-largest shareholder, acquired its stake in Bitdefender in 2017, in a deal valuing the business at more than USD 600m. Bitdefender’s co-founders Mariuca and Florin Talpes hold the majority stake, while a group of private investors hold the balance, as reported.

A spokesperson for Bitdefender said that, as a matter of corporate policy, the company does not comment on rumour or speculation. He added that the focus right now is to continue to provide value to consumers, businesses and governments around the world by eliminating cyber threats, protecting privacy and data, and enabling cyber resilience.

Vitruvian, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley declined to comment.

*Mergermarket's LTE predictive analytics assign a score to sponsor-backed companies to help track and predict when an exit could occur through M&A, an IPO, a direct listing or a deSPAC transaction. 

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