After KKR’s Barracuda Takeover, MSPs Anticipate Major Investments In Channel, Products

‘From what I can tell, the transaction sounds like a great move for everyone involved,’ says Paul Kunze, CEO of IntraSystems.


Barracuda Networks partners expect an increase in investments in the email security provider’s channel and products line after private equity powerhouse KKR’s takeover of Barracuda later this year.

“From what I can tell, the transaction sounds like a great move for everyone involved,” says Paul Kunze, CEO of IntraSystems, a 65-employee MSP based in Braintree, Mass. “A company like Barracuda can benefit a lot from investments that firms like KKR can provide.”

As for KKR’s plan to push Barracuda deeper into key security fields, Kunze said it “makes a lot of sense” because MSP and their customers want providers who can offer a number of security products and services.

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“People want to buy as much from one (vendor) as possible,” he said. “For MSPs, they want vendors who can provide a wide range of products all on one platform.”

When announcing the planned acquisition of the Campbell, Calif.-based Barracuda earlier this week, KKR made clear its plans to “accelerate growth” by further pushing the company into security markets such as managed detection and response, extended detection and response and secure access service edge (SASE) technology.

Meanwhile, Barracuda chief executive Hatem Naguib told CRN on Wednesday that he anticipated increased investments in his company’s channel after KKR assumes ownership of the company.

For MSPs, the pledges by deep-pocketed KKR, which has aggressively pushed into the cybersecurity sector in recent years, and Naguib are just what they wanted to hear.

Eric Rivest, vice president of sales and business development at Natrix Technologies, a Quebec-based MSP, said his top hope is for KKR to maintain the “high quality” of Barracuda’s products and dedication to its channel partners.

Rivest’s firm isn’t the only channel player to value its relationship with Barracuda, which received a 5-Star Award in the 2022 CRN Partner Program Guide. Founded in 2003, Barracuda, has about 200,000 customers worldwide, according to a company press release.

“If they just keep everything the same, we’ll be very happy,” Rivest said.

But Rivest did express satisfaction that KKR has pledged to push further into key market areas such as managed detection and response. “That would make me very happy,” he said.

KKR is buying Barracuda from another private equity stalwart, Thoma Bravo. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but a Reuters report pegs the value of the sale at $4 billion, including debt.

Rivest, whose firm has been a Barracuda partner since 2006, said he thought Thoma Bravo did a good job during its approximate five-year ownership of Barracuda, investing in the company and expanding its product line.

Barracuda focuses on serving small- and medium-sized enterprises with a broad suite of cybersecurity offerings, including email protection, application security, network security and data protection.

“They significantly helped Barracuda,” Rivest said of Thoma Bravo. “Barracuda’s leadership team has also been very strong.”

Bob Keblusek, chief innovation and technology officer for security solution provider all-star Sentinel Technologies, said with private equity firms in general acquiring security vendors at a rapid pace, it will spur innovation in artificial intelligence and machine learning as well as channel scale.

Keblusek said some vendors who had less of a channel-centric focus have been able to leverage private equity to “scale” their channel sales and outreach to managed security services providers.

“The acquisitions have increased our access to additional security technologies, and I have yet to see any real downside,” he said. “Each company may differ in their approach to the channel, but so far it has been a positive experience.”

He said Barracuda can leverage KKR to drive development in their platforms and investment in managed security services providers (MSSPs).

CRN’s Mark J. Haranas contributed to this report.