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

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WASHINGTON, DC - FEB 06: The Darktrace cybersecurity software demonstration showed how a global problem (instrusion) can start with just one employee's work station. Jim Penrose is a former NSA employee who is now part of Darktrace, a cybersecurity software company that is opening up an office in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post via Getty Images
The Darktrace cybersecurity software demonstration showed how a global problem (instrusion) can start with just one employee's work station. Photo: Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Darktrace, a cyberscurity company with links to British intelligence services, has confirmed its intention to float on the London Stock Exchange, adding to the recent IPO boom in Europe. 

Details released on Monday showed the company plans to opt for a premium listing that will see its securities listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange. The listing could value Darktrace at much as £3bn ($4.3bn), putting it in the top-end of the market.

The company said the offer will "raise proceeds to accelerate new product development, drive broader awareness of the company's products globally and to provide balance sheet strength and financial flexibility." 

Existing investors will cash out some of their holdings in the IPO alongside the fundraising.

Cambridge-based Darktrace was founded in 2013 and grew out of collaborations between the UK intelligence services and the University of Cambridge. The company retains close links to the intelligence community: former MI5 director general Lord Evans and the CIA's former chief information officer, Alan Wade, both sits on its advisory board. Former home secretary Amber Rudd is an advisor.

Darktrace uses artificial intelligence to build what it calls an "enterprise immune system" that monitors company's 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.

READ MORE: Revolut fundraising round could value company at $10bn

Darktrace's London listing come amid a boom in public listings around the world. IPOs jumped 85% in the first quarter of 2021, according to EY's global IPO monitor.

Notable recent London floats include Dr Martens (DOCS.L), Moonpig (MOON.L) and review website Trustpilot (TRST.L).

The quarter ended on a sour note with Deliveroo's (ROO.L) hotly-anticipated IPO. The takeaway delivery app saw its share price crash 26% on the first day of trading in the worst London listing for at least a decade. A cautionary tale for investors and companies alike, its shares continued to sink even after the initial selloff wiped millions from its value. 

Watch: What are SPACs?

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