A whirl of deal-making events struck the cybersecurity industry in the past few weeks.
CrowdStrike had its initial public offering (IPO) started last Wednesday. The California-based company opened on Nasdaq today at $63.50, gaining almost 90 percent following its priced 18 million shares at $34 on Tuesday. Around 2.3 million shares were traded hands during the market opening.
CrowdStrike gained $612 million through the IPO. The company had already raised its pricing to around $28 to $30 a share, from the initial cost of $19 to $23. At the end of the day, CrowdStrike resolved at nearly $58, a 71 percent increase than its original IPO price. With this, the company rakes more than $11 billion in capitalization – around four times compared to the previous value at funding round in June 2018 at only $3 billion.
Meanwhile, Elastic NV, the creator of Splunk-like data catching product, announced intentions to acquire Endgame, a competitor of CrowdStrike, for a relatively scant $234 million. Government agencies and different enterprises utilize Endgame for endpoint stoppage, identification, and response. Elastic’s Elasticsearch, a search engine for unstructured and structured data, is widely used for full-text search, and log and business analytics.
Insight Partners, an investment firm, acquired threat intelligence company Recorded Future, for $780 million. The latter sees the acquisition as an opportunity for continuous growth.
Christopher Ahlberg, Recorded Future’s CEO, said that the evolution of their relationship with Insight would allow Recorded Future to improve its service for its current and upcoming clients as they unleash the maximized potential of their technical roadmap. He noted that they would place their software to truly address some of the most difficult and distinct issues faced by the community.
Security companies continued to be an in-demand commodity. Palo Alto Networks acquired Israeli container security startup Twistlock for $410 million. This was succeeded by another acquisition as Palo Alto Networks also announced buying PureSec, serverless security startup. The terms for the PureSec deal has not been disclosed though reports say it was around in the $60-70 million range. Both startups companies will provide Palo Alto an array of tools for latest development approaches, now that meaning of securing infrastructures and applications continues to alter.
Cisco, on the other hand, acquires Internet of Things (IoT) security specialist Sentryo, The latter is a firm majoring on Industrial Control Systems (ICS) which includes gas, water or electricity distribution networks, critical infrastructure, power plants, transport networks, and production lines. Financial terms of the acquisition, however, were not disclosed.
Following the trend is FireEye, which acquired Verodin, a company that has a platform that assists in validating the effectiveness of cybersecurity controls. The acquisition is valued at nearly $250 million in cash and stock.
Lastly, cybersecurity giant Imperva Inc. also acquired Distil Networks Inc., a venture-backed startup company that assists companies in keeping bots away from apps and websites.
So, what does all the market consolidation mean? One possible reason is the worries of an upcoming recession.
In a report from Fortune, Ron Gula, an alumnus of the U.S. National Security Agency and a cybersecurity investor, noted in that fears of a viable downturn may be tempting people to prepare for drought. With these, venture companies take advantage of the situation to convince startup companies to accept fundraising or put pressure on their investments for them to cash out.
Businesspeople, seeing a possible cliff on the standpoint while also witnessing competitors get absorbed by acquires, may have ample time for an exit trip. Gula noted that peer pressure dominoes: as more exits happen, this generates a sense of urgency among entrepreneurs to follow suit.
Five or more years ago, the industry for cybersecurity venture capitalization skyrocketed, and companies who benefited during that time are mature enough now to exit. Additionally, there are far more viable buyers in different industries.
Enrique Salem, former CEO of Symantec and now Bain Capital Ventures’ cybersecurity investor, noted that he is expecting to see the series of acquisitions and mergers to continue, moreover that companies did not initially think that cybersecurity companies will boost their offering. Salem noted that we’d find more companies adding security features in their portfolios. These companies have tons of data, and they will look to add security to all that data.
If there is an impending catastrophe, then most cybersecurity firms may better place themselves where they would sustain less damage aftermath than the others. Sarah Guo, Greylock Partners investor, stressed that there are preemptive concerns regarding how feebler or less strategic firms will grow during such time when long bull market unavoidably changes.
Guo also noted that there is a bit of commotion to acquire premium assets. One reason could be the strong tech industry at the moment is providing acquires an array of choices (therefore an advantage) to make significant acquisitions. She stressed that there is pressure among acquirers to “use-it-while-you’ ve-got-it.”
CEO of BitSight Tom Turner told Fortune that he is not tremendously concerned about the arrival of “winter.” He noted that when cybersecurity market contracts periodically, the gravity of the consolidation is rarely as massive as what has been forecasted. After all, when rivals exit, it generates more opportunities to get talents and re-enter the industry.
No one can predict when downturn may come, but most companies are gearing up for the best. While there may be some downfall, firms should still dwell on the positive things lurks any bad situation.