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DigiCert Changes Hands in Management-Backed Buyout

"We look forward to continuing to aggressively grow the company organically and through acquisition"

By CBR Staff Writer

DigiCert, one of the world’s largest Certificate Authorities (CAs) has changed hands in a management-backed deal, with CEO John Merrill and the current management team, investing alongside private equity firm Clearlake Capital Group, the new majority shareholder, and existing stakeholder TA Associates.

Private equity firm Thoma Bravo exits the company. It had bought a majority share in the company in 2015, describing it “one of the largest technology investments ever made in a Utah-based business.” Terms were not disclosed.

DigiCert provides SSL certificates as well as enterprise PKI and IoT security certificates. It also offers management platforms and customer support. The company employs over 1,000 globally. It has been growing strongly in recent years, including through acquisitions: most notably, that of Symantec’s certificates business. It also bought QuoVadis’s TLS/SSL, PKI businesses in early 2018 for $45 million cash.

See also: DigiCert CEO John Merrill on Symantec, “Hellacious” Projects, Fake News and Quantum Certificates

Behdad Eghbali, co-founder and managing partner, and Prashant Mehrotra, partner, of Clearlake Capital Group said late Tuesday: “We believe the company is well positioned for further growth due to its solid base of recurring subscription revenue and significant market trends as customers increasingly demand security and identity solutions with the strongest encryption and highest authentication standards.”

The added: “We are pleased to join TA as partners in DigiCert and look forward to utilizing our O.P.S. framework to support the team in continuing to aggressively grow the company organically and through acquisition.”

Bill Holtz, the CEO of rival Sectigo, the world’s largest commercial CA, said: “As the stewards of trusted identity for digital business, it is crucial for Certificate Authorities to maintain impeccable performance.”

“This applies to not only IT security, but also physical security of systems, robust cryptographic practices, consistently accurate identity verification, and proven compliance with a long list of requirements posed by standards bodies, browsers, government regulations, and more. In the case of a private company undergoing ownership change, the acquirer’s business goals may potentially affect operations, if those goals are different from the previous owner’s. So it’s important to pay close attention to how the acquisition affects DigiCert in the coming quarters.”

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