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February 13, 2012

Kaspersky backtracks on IPO plans

Boss Eugene Kaspersky doesn't want to cede control of his favourite toy

By Vinod

Russian security firm Kaspersky Lab has pulled plans for an IPO and will buy back a significant stake sold to US investors in 2011.

CEO Eugene Kaspersky
Kaspersky founder and CEO Eugene Kaspersky

According to Reuters, founder and CEO Eugene Kaspersky said he doesn’t want to lose control of the company and likes the way it is run at the moment.

Speaking at the company’s security event in Cancun, Mexico, Kaspersky is reported to have said: "You don’t have to report to anybody else but yourself. It is flexible. It is very, very innovative. I like it. I don’t want to change."

He also said the company would buy back $200m worth of shares purchased by General Atlantic, a private equity firm, in January 2011. That move valued the company at $1bn. It was widely seen at the time as a precursor to an initial public offering (IPO).

Speaking to CBR not long after that deal, Kaspersky confirmed that an IPO was on the cards.

"Technically we’re ready for it and have been for maybe five years or so," he told us, before adding: "But now is not the best time and there are a few questions to answer, such as where do we do it? London? Hong Kong? The global economy is slowing heading from the US and Europe to the East. We don’t really need it at the moment and don’t want to have investors that we have to satisfy. It will happen sooner or later though. It’s just a question of time."

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He also ruled out being bought by an American company to help Kaspersky gain a foothold in the government sectors in the UK and US, where it currently lacks any significant presence. "I don’t want to sell my favourite toy," he told CBR. "We’ll find another way [to gain that trust]. We’re happy being independent because I can manage my way."

The company recently revealed its financial figures for 2011. The company is private so the results are not detailed but the company did reveal revenue of $612m, up 14% year on year.

You can read the full Q&A with Eugene Kaspersky here and listen to a podcast with him on our multimedia site, CBRTV here.

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