Sophos enlists College Hill

Computer security firm Sophos has turned to College Hill for a potential £100m flotation on the London Stock Exchange.

The agency will also advise on the company’s engagement in a ‘144a’, through which it will attempt to raise money in the US.

Under rule 144a of the US Securities Act, governed by the US Securities and ­Exchange Commission, a company faces a number of restrictions when it embarks on a financing roadshow, ­including caps on increasing its news output. But Sophos is renowned for generating news stories around computer viruses, ­often quoting its senior technology consultant Graham Cluley, who ­enjoys near celebrity status within the industry.

The amount of news ­Sophos generates is a lesson to other private companies looking for interest in the US,’ said College Hill partner Sara Musgrave, who heads the account.

College Hill picked up the account through a prior relationship with Sophos’ chief financial officer, Paul Smolinski, who Musgrave advised when he worked for The Innovation Group.

Oxford-based Sophos is likely to be valued at more than £300m if the listing is successful. The company is 25 years old, and counts Revlon, Vodafone, Lockheed Martin, Heinz and Marks & Spencer among its clients.

Sophos is expected to generate strong US interest and provide a fillip to the UK IT market. It is currently the largest private company in its sector.

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