Bitdefender, a Romanian cybersecurity company, is likely to pursue an IPO next year, according to two sources familiar with the situation.
Sponsor Vitruvian Partners is angling for a 2022 exit, said the first source, with a listing in the US or in London as the most likely route. While still early days, advisers are positioning themselves for potential mandates, said a sector advisor and a third source familiar with the situation.
Current market conditions are conducive to an exit via public markets, as investors seek tech and growth-oriented assets, with US-based peer UiPath as the one to watch, the sources said.
Robotic software firm UiPath raised USD 750m in a Series F completed in early February at a USD 35bn valuation, ahead of a blockbuster US IPO slotted for later this year. The company is headquartered in New York City but it is also a product of the Romanian tech scene, founded in 2015 in Bucharest by Marius Tirca and Daniel Dines.
Vitruvian will want to watch how UiPath’s shares perform before making a definitive IPO move, the sources said. In the event of a listing, Avast [LON:AVST] could also be seen as a valuation benchmark, the fourth source said. The Czech cybersecurity firm listed in London in 2018 amidst a difficult IPO market, but has since doubled its market cap to GBP 5.15bn.
Bitdefender posted consolidated revenues of around RON 1bn (around EUR 200m) for 2019 and forecast a 20% sales growth in 2020, according to a local media report.
In December 2017, Vitruvian Partners acquired a stake of approximately 30% in Bitdefender, valuing the business at over USD 600m.
Following the deal, the private equity firm became the second-largest shareholder, with co-founders Mariuca and Florin Talpes continuing to hold the majority stake. A group of private investors hold a minority stake in the company.
Bitdefender has 1,600 employees across 14 offices, supporting customers in over 150 countries and a network of more than 20,000 reseller partners. Established in 2001, the company protects over 500m systems and is used in more than 38% of the world’s security solutions, according to its website.
Bitdefender did not respond to comment requests. Vitruvian Partners declined to comment.