Thoma Bravo doubles down on identity; backer of Inspire Fitness and Spotter raises debut fund

Thoma Bravo agrees to take Ping Identity private for $2.8 billion.

Good morning, Hubsters. MK Flynn here on a deal-packed Wednesday morning.

What summer slowdown? Today is hopping. We’ve got a big cybersecurity deal, a fundraise by Jeff Bezos’ brother, a pair of interviews with European private equity dealmakers and some community solar energy projects.

Tectonic shift. Thoma Bravo just announced a big cybersecurity take-private deal. The Chicago private equity firm has agreed to acquire Ping Identity, headquartered in Denver, in an all-cash transaction valued at $2.8 billion.

Expected to close in the fourth quarter, the deal follows Thoma Bravo’s April announcement that it is acquiring SailPoint Technologies, which develops enterprise identity security software, in a take-private all-cash transaction worth $6.9 billion.

“A tectonic shift is occurring in intelligent identity solutions for the enterprise,” said Seth Boro, a managing partner at Thoma Bravo. “Ping Identity’s unique capabilities and strong position in enterprise identity security make it a great platform to deliver customer outcomes, expand into new use cases and support digital transformations.”

Ping is “well-positioned to capitalize on the significant opportunities in the $50 billion enterprise identity security solutions area,” said Chip Virnig, a partner with the PE firm. “Our shared commitment to growth and innovation, combined with Thoma Bravo’s significant security software investing and operational expertise, will enable Ping Identity to accelerate its cloud transformation and delivery of industry leading identity security experiences for the customers, employees and partners of large enterprises worldwide.”

The acquisition has been approved by Ping’s board of directors and is subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by Ping Identity shareholders and regulatory approvals.

Vista Equity Partners, which owns approximately 9.7 percent, of Ping’s shares, has agreed to vote its shares in favor of the transaction.

Solar power. In July, Borrego, a San Diego company focused on large-scale solar energy projects, announced the sale of its Lowell, Massachusetts-based development business to ECP, which is headquartered in Summit, New Jersey.

The creation and expansion of community solar programs will be a “major driver” of growth for the recently formed New Leaf Energy, said Andrew Gilbert, a partner at ECP, in an interview with PE Hub’s Obey Martin Manayiti. “New Leaf is also using its development expertise to expand into storage and larger projects, which could further accelerate growth,” Gilbert said.

New Leaf focuses on projects related to the distribution of solar energy. In distribution deals, returns are typically higher, projects can be developed more quickly, and capital is at lower risk than deals involving large, utility-scale development, Gilbert said.

Community solar projects, which allow consumers with no capacity to develop their own solar energy to get government-subsidized solar power, are rapidly developing in the US, writes Obey. Most projects are supported by legislation at both state and federal levels, while private players are increasingly finding ways to tap into the space to satisfy demand for clean energy.

“Today, there are only a handful of states with established and effective community solar programs,” Gilbert said. “But we expect more states to implement these programs.”

Read the full interview here.

Nearshoring. Over at our recently launched affiliate site, PE Hub Europe, reporter Nina Lindholm shares a pair of insightful interviews this week.

One Equity Partners plans to grow its latest acquisition – polymers, composites and precision metal parts provider Clayens – through M&A deals across the world, managing director Konstantin Ryzhkov told Nina.

Headquartered in Genas, France, Clayens’ capabilities include thermoplastics, thermoset injection, metalloplastics and precision metal machining and engineering.

“We are continuing to find attractive acquisition opportunities within the industrials sector,” Ryzhkov said. “The pandemic and resultant supply-chain disruptions have highlighted vulnerabilities and caused many companies to re-locate their supply chains more locally.”

A growing number of companies are reshoring supply chains from China back to Europe and the US. “We believe that outsourced contract manufacturers with facilities strategically located near its customers, such as Clayens, are poised to benefit from this tailwind,” he said.

Read Nina’s story for more.

Also see Nina’s interview with Keensight Capital partner Grégory Agez about the Paris PE firm’s plans to expand data management software provider BYG4Lab. Keensight announced last month that it bought the company, which is based in L’Union, France. BYG4Lab provides data management software for medical laboratories specialised in biology and microbiology.

Read the story here.

Emerging manager.  HighPost Capital, well-known in the market for its starry founders and backers – which include the family of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos – has raised $535 million for a debut consumer-focused offering. The New York private equity firm closed HighPost Capital Fund I this month, bringing in $420 million, chairman and CEO David Moross told Buyouts’ Kirk Falconer. The firm picked up an additional $115 million through side-car co-investment pools.

HighPost was established in 2019 as a joint venture of Moross, a veteran of PE investing in the consumer sector, and Mark Bezos, brother of the Amazon founder and a former consumer brand developer.

Primarily a control investor, HighPost will also acquire minority growth equity stakes in companies with $15 million-plus of EBITDA and $75 million-plus of revenue. Doing deals on its own or with others, it targets opportunities in subsectors like sports, media, health, wellness, leisure and lifestyle.

Digitalization is a theme in the firm’s initial investments, the earliest of which was Spotter, a YouTube creator platform. In February, Spotter announced a $200 million financing from SoftBank Vision Fund that came on the heels of $555 million raised from other investors, among them HighPost.

In March, HighPost also announced its acquisition of Centr, a personalized digital health and fitness company founded by Hollywood actor Chris Hemsworth, and Inspire Fitness, a maker of state-of-the-art fitness equipment. The two were merged under the Centr brand.

For more details on the firm’s investments and strategy, read Kirk’s story here.

On that note, I’ll sign off.

Happy dealmaking until tomorrow,

MK