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IPO Watch: French cybersecurity firm Exclusive Networks to be valued at €1.8bn in market debut

·Reporter
·3-min read
French cybersecurity firm Exclusive Networks to be valued at €2.4bn in market debut
Cybersecurity has boomed over the last year due to more people working away from the office to combat the spread of coronavirus, boosting the need for protection amid rising levels of cybercrime. Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty

French cybersecurity company Exclusive Networks has set its initial public offering (IPO) at the lower end of its range — at €20 (£17, $23) per share, valuing the firm at around €1.8bn.

Shares at the business, which helps cybersecurity companies connect to other firms, are set to start trading in Paris on Thursday. They were previously expected to be priced between a range of €20 and €24.

The IPO includes a 15% over-allotment option, which when exercised could take the deal size to as much as €480m.

Exclusive Networks aims to use the proceeds from the float to expand into various markets overseas, and grow the business through mergers and acquisitions.

Existing shareholders include private equity firm Permira Holdings, which is controlled by former chief executive officer Olivier Breittmaye.

In its most recent financial results, the company reported a profit of €108m last year on the back of €2.9bn in sales.

Read more: IPO watch: From DarkTrace to Deliveroo, the winners and losers of London listings

“Cybersecurity has never been more relevant – to business leaders, state heads and consumers. Exclusive Networks has a mission to drive the transition to a totally trusted digital future," Jesper Trolle, chief executive of Exclusive Networks, said.

"Our IPO is a natural step in our evolution and will accelerate our simple, proven strategy: to extend our international reach, expand our services offering and add value to our existing customer and vendor relationships. It will also enable us to continue acquiring companies that complement our culture, capabilities and reach."

Its debut will extend a strong run of listings in France, after a dismal two years, with investment firm Antin Infrastructure Partners looking to float its shares at €24 in Paris, valuing the firm at €4.1bn. Health-care property firm Icade Sante also announced planned IPOs this month.

The number of European listings hit their highest level in 14 years in the first half of the year.

Cybersecurity has also boomed over the last year. This is due to more people working away from the office to combat the spread of coronavirus, boosting the need for protection amid rising levels of cybercrime.

Darktrace (DARK.L) made its debut on the London Stock Exchange in April, and has surged almost 180% since. Its listing was one of the most prominent to emerge from the UK’s cluster of tech unicorns — companies with a valuation of at least $1bn.

READ MORE: Tech giant Darktrace heads for FTSE with £3bn IPO plan

Darktrace, which was founded in Cambridge in 2013, uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology to spot cyber threats for businesses.

The AI is used to build what it calls an "enterprise immune system" that monitors companies' computer networks to detect unusual activity and then respond to it. The technology stands in contrast to traditional cyber security software that tries to build a wall around networks to block intruders.

Some of its clients include BT Group (BT-A.L), William Hill (WMH.L) and online grocer Ocado (OCDO.L).

Watch: Darktrace CEO on the Growing Demand for AI Security Tech

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