SonicWall Completes $717 Million Buyout by Investment Firm

SonicWall Inc., a maker of network security appliances, said that it has finalized its acquisition by a group of investors led by Thoma Bravo, a private equity investment firm, for some $717 million, or $11.50 per share, in an all cash deal.

SonicWall's shareholders last week approved the deal, which will see the company delisted on the Nasdaq exchange and returned to its former privately-held status.

The purchasing group includes the Ontario (CAN) Teachers' Pension Plan through its private investor department, Teachers' Private Capital. Ontario is an independent organization responsible for investing the pension fund and administering the pensions of Ontario's 289,000 active and retired teachers.

SonicWall said that the deal will enable it to better fund new products and fend off competitors. Yet to be determined is how Thoma Bravo will handle the vendor's roster of 7,000 channel partners under its Medallion Partner program.

"With strong and supportive partners in Thoma Bravo and Teachers' Private Capital, we can create exciting new opportunities for SonicWall and continue building the company into an IT security leader," said Matthew Medeiros, SonicWall president and chief executive.

The SonicWall purchase enables Thoma Bravo to further expand its dossier of IT companies. In mid-May, the investment firm acquired Double-Take Software Inc., a maker of data recovery solutions, for about $242 million, and in March it plunked down $143 million for Plato Learning Inc., an online learning company.

Gartner Inc., an IT researcher, said that the deal equips SonicWall with "protection and a stable base for future growth."

The researcher call the merger essentially a "private equity buyout," and said that "reinvestment opportunities from Thoma Bravo will enable SonicWall to speed up development of the recently announced SuperMassive platform," the vendor's high speed unified threat management offering aimed at enterprise customers.

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