(Bloomberg) -- British cybersecurity company Darktrace Plc announced plans for an initial public offering in London, adding to a surge in U.K. listings even after Deliveroo Holdings Plc flopped in its market debut.
The company will sell new shares to fund product development, and some existing investors also will offer stock, Darktrace said in a statement Monday. Darktrace and shareholders plan to sell at least 20% of the company’s equity, and the stock will trade on the London Stock Exchange’s premium market and be eligible for FTSE’s benchmark stock indexes, according to the statement.
IPO proceeds in London total $9.9 billion this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, on par with 2019 and closing in on the 2020 total of $11.6 billion. Deliveroo, which raised 1.5 billion pounds ($2.1 billion) in its listing March 31, has slumped 35% since it began trading, hit by investor concerns about its gig-economy business model and its dual-class share structure.
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Darktrace has been putting the pieces in place since at least late 2019 for a public offering. The company was founded in 2013 by veterans of U.S. and British intelligence agencies and mathematicians from the University of Cambridge. Its technology uses artificial intelligence to learn how organizations work and employees communicate to detect irregularities and wall off cyberattacks to prevent them from spreading.
It’s one of the companies that received early funding and advice from British entrepreneur Mike Lynch’s Invoke Capital. Lynch, the founder of Autonomy Corp., is awaiting a verdict on a trial involving Autonomy’s more-than $10 billion sale to Hewlett-Packard Co. a decade ago. HP wrote down the vast majority of the deal in 2012 and has alleged that Lynch and his chief financial officer orchestrated an accounting fraud to make Autonomy more attractive in the sale, which both men have denied.
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Lynch serves on Darktrace’s science and technology committee. A number of its executives also have Autonomy pedigree, including Chief Executive Officer Poppy Gustafsson and Chief Strategy Officer Nicole Eagan.
Invoke is represented on Darktrace’s nine-member board by Phil Pearson, Vanessa Colomar and Andrew Kanter. A number of members also have ties to other Invoke-backed companies, including Chairman Robert Webb, who serves in the same capacity at AI platform Luminance, and Gordon Hurst, who’s also on the board of fraud-detection business Featurespace.
Jefferies International Ltd., Joh. Berenberg, Gossler & Co. KG and KKR Capital Markets Partners LLP will arrange the sale if it goes ahead, with Needham & Co. and Piper Sandler & Co. as joint bookrunners.
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