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British cybersecurity firm Darktrace targets $5bn London IPO

LaToya Harding
·Contributor
·2-min read
Cybersecurity
Darktrace uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology to spot cyber threats for businesses. Photo: Grabowsky/Photothek via Getty Images

Cybersecurity company Darktrace is targeting a $5bn (£3.8bn) valuation as it lines up banks for an initial public offering in London, it has been revealed.

The British firm, which was established in 2013, is in talks with investment lenders, including UBS and Berenberg, to work on a stock market float next year, Sky News first reported.

City sources told the broadcaster that the appointment of the investment banks, as part of a syndicate of advisers, is likely to be finalised in the coming days.

The company uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology to spot cyber threats for businesses. Some of its clients include BT Group (BT-A.L), William Hill (WMH.L) and online shopping giant Ocado (OCDO.L). Its investors also include KKR & Co, Vitruvian Partners and Summit Partners.

Earlier this year Wall Street bank Goldman Sachs reportedly declined a role in the blockbuster IPO of Darktrace due to legal issues surrounding its biggest shareholder Invoke Capital, which was founded by Mike Lynch.

READ MORE: Darktrace Begins Preparations as Public Company, Nears CFO Hire

Goldman raised concerns about the billionaire tech entrepreneur’s ongoing extradition battle over the $11bn sale of software company Autonomy to Hewlett Packard in 2011.

Lynch faces a hearing at the beginning of 2021 after US authorities charged him with 17 counts or securities and wire fraud. He submitted himself for arrest in February this year and was given bail in return for £10m security.

In 2018, Lynch stepped down from the Darktrace board. He denies the charges against him.

Some firms have also questioned whether underwriting the stock market float could constitute a potential breach of Britain's Proceeds of Crime Act.

Darktrace was founded by veterans of US and British intelligence agencies and mathematicians from the University of Cambridge.

The company is headquartered in Cambridge in the UK and San Francisco in the US, housing more than 40 offices across the globe. It employs over 1,200 workers.

Yahoo Finance has reached out to Darktrace for comment.

Watch: Ransomware attacks on the rise: Should companies and organisations pay?