Anti-Virus Titan Avast Files Largest-Ever U.K. Tech IPO, Plans To Raise $1 Billion In Primary, Secondary Sales


Endpoint security behemoth Avast has applied to list its shares on the London Stock Exchange in a move expected to value the company at around $4 billion.

The listing for the Prague, Czech Republic-based company is anticipated in early May, with the company expected to raise $200 million in primary proceeds and $800 million in secondary sales, according to a report from Reuters. Avast's $1 billion sales target would represent the largest-ever tech IPO in the United Kingdom, and would mean that Sophos is no longer the only cybersecurity firm listed in London.

"As a leading European tech company, a listing on the London Stock Exchange is a strategic and natural fit, providing us with wide access to the capital markets and supporting the future growth of our business in the years ahead," Vincent Steckler, Avast CEO, said in a statement provided to various media outlets. Avast didn't immediately respond to a CRN request for comment.

[RELATED: Avast Launches New Business Portfolio And Partner Program, Combining Its Channel Forces With AVG]

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Avast also plans to use the primary proceeds of its offering to pay down its debt, according to the company. The company reported revenue of $714 million and EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation, and amortization) of $353 million in 2016.

The move comes six years after Avast scrapped plans to list on the U.S. Nasdaq, citing difficult market conditions. Avast says it's the world's largest provider of consumer anti-virus software, delivering defense to 40 percent of consumer PCs outside China. The company said it blocked roughly 2 billion cyberattacks per month last year.

Avast is currently 46 percent owned by its founders, Czech entrepreneurs Pavel Baudis and Eduard Kucera, Reuters reported, with CVC Capital Partners holding a 29 percent stake and Summit Partners occupying a 7 percent position. Morgan Stanley and UBS will serve as the global coordinators and lead bookrunners for Avast's IPO, according to Reuters.

The company also supplies privacy protection and other internet utility software to SMBs. Avast company employs roughly 1,700 people globally, including 600 that work in its Research and Development facilities.

Avast is the third cybersecurity vendor this year – and the second one this week – to file for an initial public offering. Fellow endpoint security player Carbon Black indicated on Monday that it aims to raise $100 million through a public offering on the Nasdaq Global Select Market, while rising cloud security star Zscaler raised $192 million in a Nasdaq public offering last month.

The IPO filing for Avast comes less than two years after acquiring Czech anti-virus software rival AVG to significantly expand its user base. Avast integrated the two technology portfolios in September 2017, and launched three new anti-virus offerings and three management offerings aimed at the SMB market.

The base provision includes full endpoint protection for file, email, web, spam, and Wi-Fi inspection, Avast said at the time, while the higher-tier offerings also include identity protection, password management, and data protection services.

From a management offering perspective, Avast introduced a console allowing for centralized management and updates of all endpoint products; a tool for remote monitoring and management, endpoint protection management, and site security assessment; and the ability to procure its highest-tier anti-virus offering as a subscription managed through Avast's web-based security portal.