Entrust Monday announced it has entered into a deal to be acquired by private equity investment firm Thoma Bravo for $114 million.
Entrust offers SSL, authentication, fraud detection, e-mail security and other security protections in its product portfolio. Entrust got its start in 1994 as the encryption-security division of Nortel and in 1998 became an independent, publicly traded firm.
"The Board has been looking for strategic alternatives for about 18 months," says Bill Connor, president and CEO at Entrust.
Connor says the Entrust board has determined the company would benefit from being part of a larger firm as its security division, or, in lieu of that, a privately held firm without the pressures of a publicly-trade company. "It's all about scale," he says.
Under the terms of the agreement, there is a 30-day period during which Entrust can still entertain bids from third parties that might want to acquire it for a higher price, according to Connor. After the 30-day period, Entrust and Thoma Bravo, a San Francisco-based investment firm, would move forward with completing the acquisition, which is subject to customary approvals from the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission as well as Entrust shareholders.
Entrust, which is currently profitable, made a number of acquisitions a few years ago, including Business Signatures. Entrust currently has about 16,000 corporate customers and 400 employees.