UKsecurity firm to float in New York

SOPHOS, the security software business founded in Britain, is expected to float in New York next year.

When the company goes on to the Nasdaq stock market it is likely to achieve a valuation of about $1bn (£626m).

This figure is based on the highly valued growth prospects which companies such as Sophos, as well as rivals McAfee and Symantec, are seen to have.

The move would value the founders’ stakes at £180m each, after the Oxford University scientists started the security firm in 1985 as postgraduates.

The pair, Dr Jan Hruska and Dr Peter Lammer, own 60 per cent of the company between them.

Hruska, 52, and Lammer, 50, are no longer involved in the running of the company, but both remain on the board as non-executive directors.

The internet security firm achieved sales of £163m in the year to March.

It provides IT security software to businesses, protecting servers, email services and laptops from hackers and viruses.

Sophos is backed by TA Associates, the venture-capital group, and Investcorp, the alternative investment product manager.

TA Associates holds a 20 per cent stake, while Investcorp has a holding of 10 per cent. The rest is owned by founders and management.

A final decision has not been made about when the float will go ahead.

A planned London floatation, announced in November 2007, was called off because of market volatility.

Sophos is being advised by Deutsche Bank, who declined to comment when contacted by City A.M.

Following modest job cuts at the start of the year, the company employs 1,800 staff worldwide, and is co-headquartered in Abingdon, UK, and Burlington, Massachusetts.

In a separate deal, Promethean, the specialist in classroom technology, has appointed Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Cazenove to advise on a potential float of their own. The company is thought to be valued at around £400m.