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Private equity firm coughs £1bn for Websense

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NASDAQ-listed web content filtering player Websense is going private again after the board approved a deal with venture capitalist Vista Equity Partners (VEP).

Under the terms of the transaction, VEP will cough $24.75 per share valuing the online security business at close to $1bn. This equates to a 29 per cent premium on the stock price on 17 May and is up 53 per cent up on the past 60-day average.

Websense Chairman John Carington, said it had held "detailed discussions with several potential acquirers" and claimed the price agreed with VEP was "fair" for shareholders.

VEP has $7bn in equity capital and investments include software businesses Misys, Lanyon, Zywave and SumTotal.

It has been a turbulent start to the year for Websense, with calendar Q1 sales slipping to $87.5m compared to $89.5m in the prior year quarter.

Profit before tax took a bigger hammering, plummeting to $2.47m from $9.8m. Wensense reported net profits of $2.7m after a tax benefit of $298,000 compared to a loss of $1.8m in Q1 2012 when it paid $11.6m in tax.

John McCormack, CEO at the security vendor, said "Vista brings an operational discipline that will enable us to continue to invest in the business."

Senior management are expected to remain on board and if the deal gets approval it should close before the end of September. ®

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