April 18, 2022
It’s hard to imagine a firm countering Elon Musk’s $43 billion Twitter bid, but it looks like Thoma Bravo might express interest. The private equity group has contacted the social media giant, according to Reuters. It is not certain how much Thoma Bravo would offer, or even if a rival bid would emerge. As of the end of 2021, Thoma Bravo had more than $103 billion in assets under management.
Thoma Bravo is a longtime player in the channel. Last month, the firm bought Anaplan, a business planning software company, valued at $10.7 billion.
(Update: The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday reported that investment firm Apollo Global Management might also make a play for Twitter.)
In 2021, Thoma Bravo acquired cybersecurity provider Proofpoint for a $12.3 billion price tag. According to CNBC, the Proofpoint deal was at the time the largest private equity cloud software buy in history. The deal bolstered the firm’s cybersecurity posture, placing it within the top five cybersecurity providers, according to Canalys. Thoma Bravo’s cybersecurity profile has included Sophos, DigiCert, Imperva and Barracuda Networks, among other companies.
There are rumors that Everbridge, the critical event management software company, will be Thoma Bravo’s next channel acquisition.
Thoma Bravo’s Seth Boro
Seth Boro, managing partner at the firm, outlined the organization’s approach to value creation.
“[It’s] rooted in partnering with the organization in which we invest and looking for opportunities to both enhance their existing operations and build technology platforms that drive significant growth,” he said.
As for Twitter, its shareholders may benefit from a contest between Musk and Thoma Bravo or some other investor. Competition could force the social media platform to sell for a sizable premium. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t drama along the way.
Twitter’s board adopted a “poison pill” last week to guard itself from Musk’s cash offer. Shortly thereafter, Musk said he would consider a hostile bid. He tweeted, “It would be utterly indefensible not to put this offer to a shareholder vote.”
The Tesla CEO, who has a 9.2% stake in Twitter, offered to buy the social media platform for $54.20 a share.
Tesla’s Elon Musk
Musk’s weekend tweets were cryptic. He wrote “Love Me Tender” on the platform, an ambiguous reference to Elvis Presley’s 1956 song that many have referred to his acquisition goals. In an additional tweet, Musk posted an upside-down smiley-face emoji. He attached this to a 2017 thread he resurfaced in which he tweeted, “I love Twitter. How much is it?”
Despite what some view as odd behavior, Musk has people in high places in his camp. Jack Dorsey tweeted over the weekend that Twitter’s board has “consistently been the dysfunction of the company.”
Dorsey, who also co-founded Twitter, served as its CEO but was fired from the role in 2008. He returned to lead the company in 2015.
CNBC reports that Dorsey leaves Twitter’s board in May. Musk tweeted Saturday that, once this happens, “the Twitter board collectively owns almost no shares! Objectively, their economic interests are simply not aligned with shareholders.”
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