Darktrace shares jump 40% in IPO

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Darktrace saw its shares jump by as much as 40 per cent on its London Stock Exchange debut on Friday, after the initial public offering raised £165m for the cyber-security company and its investors.

Cambridge-based Darktrace priced its initial public offering at 250p per share, giving it an opening value of £1.7bn, in the biggest new tech listing since Deliveroo’s flop a month ago.

Though that initial valuation had been about £1bn below Darktrace’s original target, its shares began trading as high as 350p in its first moments as a public company, according to Bloomberg data, putting it on track for a market capitalisation of around £2.4bn.

The Cambridge-based company will raise £143.4m gross proceeds from the deal, with existing shareholders selling shares worth £21.7m. Around £25m more could be raised through an overallotment option if there is demand from investors.

Conditional dealings on the London Stock Exchange began at 8am on Friday morning under the ticker “DARK”.

Darktrace uses artificial intelligence to spot intruders into a company’s network and other security threats. Its revenues grew 45 per cent in its most recent financial year to almost $200m though it remains lossmaking.

“Our company is deeply rooted in the UK’s tradition of scientific and mathematic research so we are especially proud to be listing on the London Stock Exchange,” Poppy Gustafsson, Darktrace’s chief executive said. “This milestone marks an exciting day for Darktrace.”

Darktrace had originally hoped to achieve a value of up to £3bn, a person familiar with the plan said earlier this month. Earlier this week it set a price range of 220p-280p, which set its valuation range between £1.6bn-£1.9bn.

Mike Lynch, who was Darktrace’s founding investor through his investment group Invoke Capital, is fighting extradition to the US over charges of fraud related to Hewlett-Packard’s $11bn purchase of Autonomy, the software company he co-founded, in 2011.

Though Lynch has always denied any wrongdoing, Darktrace warned in its IPO filings of potential liabilities due to previous investments from the billionaire, whose family owns almost a fifth of the company ahead of the listing.

In a statement on Friday, Gustafsson thanked Invoke, her previous employer, alongside other early investors including Talis Capital, Hoxton Ventures, Summit Partners, KKR and Vitruvian.

“We owe much gratitude to the Invoke team for their pivotal role in the vision, technology, positioning and operational input in the early years without which today’s success would not have been possible,” she said.

Jefferies, Berenberg and KKR Capital Markets are joint global co-ordinators for the float while Needham and Piper Sandler are acting as additional joint bookrunners.

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