Thoma Bravo To Buy Majority Stake In Cybersecurity Vendor Centrify

Private equity powerhouse Thoma Bravo has agreed to buy from early investors a majority stake in identity management vendor Centrify, the companies said Tuesday.

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Centrify, a Santa Clara, Calif.-headquartered vendor of cloud security and identity management solutions, established itself in the small- and midmarket before shifting focus to securing access to apps in the enterprise. To that end, the company recently revamped its channel program to make it more attractive to system integrators.

For Centrify — with backing from Thoma Bravo, known for driving growth in its holding portfolio — should help the company expand its product capabilities, both organically and through acquisitions, Centrify CEO Tom Kemp said in a blog.

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"We believe that this transaction optimally positions us to accelerate our pace of innovation," Kemp said, in Privileged Access Management and Identity-as-a-Service solutions, and a broader vision around Zero Trust Security.

But the change in ownership will not impact day-to-day operations, the CEO said.

A growth-focused investor is extremely important for companies in the identity management space, which face challenges not only from other security vendors, but also the public cloud giants that drive much of their business, said Ric Opal, vice president at SWC Technology, a Microsoft partner based in Oak Brook, Ill.

Many of Centrify's more than 5,000 customers are using the service to secure access to Microsoft's Azure cloud. But the world's largest software company is balancing support for ISVs in its ecosystem with aggressive development of native identify management solutions — "formidable products like Azure Active Directory Premium and single sign-on and those motions," Opal said.

There's a dynamic of "coopetition" with cloud providers and ISVs in their ecosystems — and the providers have a built-in advantage, because "customers don’t want to deal with finger-pointing" to other vendors, he told CRN.

All that means is the smaller specialists in access management services like Centrify and Okta must "invest in innovation, and continue to provide solutions that are relevant in the market where there's a need," Opal said.

Thoma Bravo could help Centrify do that, Opal said.

The private equity firm will buy its stake from current venture capital investors Mayfield, Accel, Jackson Square Ventures and Index Ventures.

Thoma Bravo owns stakes in other cybersecurity companies, including SailPoint, McAfee, and Barracuda.