Apax buys Sophos stake

SOPHOS, the biggest privately held security software maker, has agreed to sell a majority stake to private equity firm Apax Partners, ditching efforts to take itself public, City A.M. can confirm.

The two co-founders of the Oxfordshire-based company, Jan Hruska and Peter Lammer, are selling most of their combined 60 per cent share in a deal which values the UK group at about $830m (£545m).

Sophos, whose anti-virus software for corporations competes with programs from Symantec Corp and McAfee, pulled an initial public offering attempt from the London Stock Exchange at the end of 2007. Last year the firm said it wanted to take the company public in the United States during 2010. Sophos said in a statement that minority holder TA Associates, which took a 20 per cent stake in Sophos in 2002, is selling its full stake as part of the agreement.