Cyber-firm eyes ‘£3bn’ London share listing

Cyber-firm eyes ‘£3bn’ London share listing

February 13, 2019 0 By admin

Cyber-security firm Darktrace has said it intends to list its shares on the London Stock Exchange.

Darktrace did not indicate how much it is seeking to raise, but media reports suggest it could be as much as £3bn.

The move is seen as a sign of confidence in the London market after Deliveroo’s flop flotation last month.

The food delivery business saw its shares fall sharply when trading began, casting doubt on efforts to persuade more big tech firms to list in the UK.

Darktrace was set up in 2013 by former members of the UK security services and maths professors.

It was among the first companies in its field to use artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning to improve cyber-security.

Rather than simply looking for a virus, its systems constantly monitor a company’s computer system to look for abnormal patterns or behaviours.

Darktrace chief executive Poppy Gustafsson said a London listing was a “logical choice” for the Cambridge-based firm and that a US listing had not been considered.

She said Darktrace was a “very different company” from Deliveroo, being “a fundamental technology company”.

Darktrace’s annual revenue has grown from $79.4m (£57.7m) to $199.1m in the past two years.

However, it did not turn a profit on a pre-tax or operating basis.

Its largest shareholder is Invoke Trust, an investment fund belonging to tech entrepreneur Mike Lynch, who is facing fraud charges in the US related to the sale of his firm Autonomy in 2011 to computer giant Hewlett-Packard.

Ms Gustafsson said Mr Lynch had no involvement in the day-to-day running of Darktrace and his legal proceedings would have no impact on its performance.

“There is a lot riding on Darktrace’s forthcoming IPO after Deliveroo’s stock market flop,” said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, adding that the food delivery firm’s “disaster” had “put a cloud over the UK tech sector and whether other tech entrepreneurs would really want to risk floating their company in London”.

“If Darktrace manages to float its shares successfully and see them rise in value once trading begins, then sentiment may improve towards London as a listing venue,” Mr Mould said.