US private equity firm Thoma Bravo has agreed to buy UK cybersecurity company Darktrace in a deal which valued the company at $5bn ($3.99bn). 

The equity firm said it would use its software expertise to drive growth at the UK cybersecurity company

“Thoma Bravo has been investing exclusively in software for over 20 years and we will bring to bear the full range of our platform, operational expertise and deep experience of cybersecurity in supporting Darktrace’s growth,” said Thoma Bravo partner Andrew Almeida.

Almeida added that Darktrace was at the “very cutting edge” of cybersecurity.

Darktrace specialises in using AI to detect threats and vulnerabilities inside IT networks, as opposed to creating barriers on the outside.

The company was founded in 2013 with backing from tech entrepreneur Mike Lynch.

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The news comes as the value of cybersecurity deals in the UK peaked in 2023, according to GlobalData’s Deals Database.

In 2023, the value of cybersecurity deals totalled $83.6bn, a significant increase over 2022, which saw deals total $47bn.

The value of cybersecurity deals witnessed a peak in 2020 with a total value of $64bn; this was an increase compared with 2019, which saw deals total just $12.4bn.

AI-led attacks mean that the cybersecurity sector is in for “a bumpy ride for the next two to three years”, according to GlobalData’s new cybersecurity report.

The report states that the cybersecurity market is set to be worth $290bn by 2027, but highlights that concerns around AI’s potential – both for cybersecurity and cybercrime – are significantly impacting the market. Businesses looking to adapt to new threats have faced an additional challenge: the talent shortage.

The report also notes that in 2024, cyber investments will comprise 14% of total IT, operational technology and automation budgets, up from 11% in 2023.