Inside the Darktrace IPO

Everything you need to know about the enigmatic cyber security firm

Some called it the “least successful stock market float in [the City’s] history”. Still others dubbed it “Floperoo” or “Deliver-oops”. In an internal memo CFO Adam Miller listed a series of mitigating factors for the company’s under-performance, while others blamed “controversial share structures, employment conditions and ambitious valuations”.

Whatever the reason for Deliveroo’s disastrous IPO last month, one thing is for certain: with a 26% slump on its first day as a public company, its listing could well have served as a cautionary tale for those wishing to go public in the City.

But, perhaps fittingly for an AI company with an edge in cyber security, DarkTrace seems to know something Deliveroo didn’t. It has just announced the London Stock Exchange as the home of its IPO after unveiling a £3 billion evaluation, making it the second largest cyber security IPO on the London market after Avast.

Controversial investor Mike Lynch could yet dent Darktrace's reception

With the flotation is predicted to take place sometime in May, the company will reportedly offer around a fifth of its shares, with an option to release a further 15%. It is aiming to rise around £250 million. The cash influx will be used to fast-track product development and should earn its chief executive Poppy Gustaffson around £20 million. 

“Our intention to list on the London Stock Exchange marks a major milestone in Darktrace’s history of rapid growth, and a historic day for the UK’s thriving technology sector,” Gustafsson said in a statement.

“For us London feels like the natural choice, it is absolutely the right place for us,” Gustafsson continued. “We have amazing talent in this country, and fantastic heritage in cyber security. This is an exciting landmark for us, a great British tech company.”

Of course, nothing is yet set in stone. Especially so considering worrisome reports in February that Swiss bankers UBS had dropped out of plans to sponsor the float due to Darktrace’s links to one of its earliest financial backers, Mike Lynch.

Lynch’s Invoke Capital backed Darktrace in its early days. Lynch’s share of the company is rumoured at a 40% stake which may be worth £1.2 billion when Darktrace goes public.

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