Security Vendor Websense Goes Private in $906 Million Deal

Websense CEO John McCormackWebsense CEO John McCormack

Websense has been the subject of acquisition rumours for years and it’s finally found a way to cash out: a private equity deal lead by Vista Equity Partners.

The company said Monday Vista Equity Partners was acquiring the company for $24.75 per share in cash, a 29% premium over Websense’s May 17 closing price of $19.23. That’s also a 53% premium over Websense’s average closing price over the last 60 days.

Bloomberg did the maths and pegged the value of the deal at around $906 million. 

So, that looks like a good deal for Websense investors, since shares haven’t traded at this level since July 26, 2011, when they closed at $25.90. Websense shares are up around 25 per cent this year. 

The CEO John McCormack and all the senior management plan to stay on after the deal closes.

Websense is known for its tech that lets companies monitor how their employees use the web and block access to certain sites, like porn.

Websense has since diversified its portfolio beyond web filtering, adding email, data and mobile security offerings, forming a security threat research team, and delivering its products as cloud services.

Websense said BofA Merrill Lynch is serving as its financial advisor on the deal, and J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, RBC Capital Markets and Guggenheim Partners are providing debt financing.

This isn’t the first time Websense was said to be shopping for a buyer. In 2011, The Wall Street Journal reported that Websense was working with Frank Quattrone’s Qatalyst Partners to broker a deal in the $1 billion range.

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