BY Richard Summerfield
Cyber security M&A is on the rise, as a result of the increasing number of successful, high-profile cyber attacks, the continued digitalisation of businesses and the proliferation of new regulations, such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), according to Hampleton Partners’ 2018 Cybersecurity M&A Market Report.
“Hacking is the newest form of warfare against businesses as well as nation states. The average cost of a single data breach is now € 3 million, up by six percent in a year, plus the reputational damage which can be catastrophic,” said Henrik Jeberg, a director at Hampleton Partners. “Given the increasing market demand for cybersecurity solutions due to regulation, digitisation, high profile hacks and new technologies requiring security, we are not surprised to see a highly active M&A market for cybersecurity assets at high valuations. I expect cybersecurity to remain a hot topic in M&A, even if we go into a period of more volatile financial markets.”
There have been a number of notable M&A deals in the tech space this year, particularly in H2. The report identifies the identity and access management subsector as one of the most notable areas of activity. The space saw a number of large deals, including acquisitions by Verimatrix and Cisco.
The private equity (PE) industry has also become an active participant in the cyber security market. Indeed, PE investors have become top bidders for a number of large cyber security assets. Thoma Bravo, TPG Capital, Francesco Partners and Vista Equity Partners have all increased their investments in the cyber security space this year.
The importance of cyber security is becoming increasingly evident, particularly as the average cost of a cyber breach continues to rise. In 2017, the average cost of a single data breach rose 6 percent to €3m per breach. Moving forward, it seems likely that the cyber security space will remain a key target for acquirers in the months ahead.