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Vector Capital to be majority shareholder of WatchGuard

WatchGuard Technologies has announced it has entered into a definitive agreement with Vector Capital to make a large new equity investment in the business.

In addition, WatchGuard Technologies will acquire interests previously owned by Francisco Partners and other co-investors, making it the company's majority shareholder.

WatchGuard provides network security and intelligence, advanced endpoint protection, multi-factor authentication, and secure Wi-Fi, which it says has made enterprise-grade security accessible to a range of organisations since its inception in 1996.

Furthermore, WatchGuard says its focus on providing first-class security offerings and affording Managed Service Providers (MSPs) the means to easily establish and administer these offerings has helped grow the mainstream adoption of advanced cybersecurity.

Vector Capital and Francisco Partners have had joint ownership of WatchGuard for over 10 years, during which time the company has transformed from a trusted network security vendor into a full-scale cybersecurity platform provider.

“WatchGuard has established itself as a leading cybersecurity company under our joint ownership, with a relevant product portfolio, strong partner ecosystem, and talented team of employees,” Francisco Partners partner Ben Ball says.

“We are proud of our role in supporting WatchGuard's transformation, and we look forward to following the company's ongoing success as they continue to pave the way for simplified security when the industry needs it most.

WatchGuard notes that its Unified Security Platform currently facilitates the protection of environments, users, and networks for more than 17,000 MSPs in over 250,000 businesses globally.

“MSPs represent the future of security delivery, but to be successful, they need a bespoke platform built for their needs,” Vector Capital managing director Sandy Gill says.

“WatchGuard is uniquely positioned to lead the market in enabling those MSPs with its Unified Security Platform. We are excited to further invest both organically and via acquisitions in the company's mission to deliver security-focused MSPs one vendor, one platform, and one vision to build their business upon.

The previous ownership experience of WatchGuard has positioned Vector Capital as a strong partner for the company's management team to fast-track its growth.

Under the agreement, WatchGuard will continue to invest in crucial areas such as cloud transformation, secure access service edge, extended detection and response, managed detection and response, and other areas of security automation and simplification for MSPs.

“Vector firmly believes in WatchGuard's portfolio, partners, employees, and vision. This transaction is a testament to WatchGuard's current success and the opportunity ahead,” WatchGuard Technologies CEO Prakash Panjwani says.

“We believe Vector is well positioned to further accelerate WatchGuard's growth strategy while preserving our company culture and commitment to security delivery through the MSP community.

“We are thrilled to continue the journey we started with WatchGuard's employees, partners, and customers over a decade ago,” Vector Capital founder, managing director and chief investment officer Alex Slusky says.

“We are proud of the foundation of success we've built with WatchGuard's management team and look forward to fueling the next phase of growth and transformation for the company.

The companies add that the transaction is expected to close by the end of Q3 2022, subject to customary conditions.

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