Home / Technology / Thoma Bravo Raises $7.6 Billion Fund to Pursue More Tech Deals

Thoma Bravo Raises $7.6 Billion Fund to Pursue More Tech Deals

SAN FRANCISCO — At a busy time for technology takeovers, one of the main private equity specialists in the field is raising its biggest-ever fund to pursue more deals.

The firm, Thoma Bravo, said on Monday that it had closed its 12th fund at $ 7.6 billion, which surpassed an initial target of about $ 7 billion because of high investor demand.

The firm, whose history traces back to a much larger private equity firm based in Chicago, has benefited from a slowly growing boom in technology leveraged buyouts. Along with Vista Equity Partners, Thoma Bravo is one of the few specialists who focus solely on taking over primarily aging software and other tech companies and then turning them around.

As onetime tech pioneers have found themselves struggling to keep up with advancements like cloud computing — and often found themselves the targets of activist hedge funds who have called for merger activity — firms like Thoma Bravo have enjoyed a bigger array of potential targets to buy.

In recent years, Thoma Bravo has bought companies like Riverbed Technology, a provider of networking equipment, and Qlik, a data analysis provider, in multibillion-dollar transactions.

“The whole entire space is going through a transformation to cloud computing, and it feels like the entire industry is for sale,” Orlando Bravo, a managing partner at the firm, said in a telephone interview.”

That has meant big returns, too: Thoma Bravo’s previous funds have generated internal rates of return ranging from 20 to 45 percent. (Mr. Bravo declined to comment on the funds’ specific performance.)

Though the success of Thoma Bravo and Vista has attracted bigger, more generalist competitors, Mr. Bravo said that he saw the increasing competition as a good thing for his firm.

“You need competitors to build a market,” he said. “And we have more pools of capital to sell our portfolio companies to.”

Despite the firm benefiting from activist investors like Elliott Management — which itself has sometimes invested like a private equity firm — Mr. Bravo said that he and his team do not work hand-in-hand with such investors. Thoma Bravo, he said, tends to back existing management teams, providing them with resources and holding them to different performance targets.

It also encourages portfolio companies to pursue their own acquisitions in what it calls a “buy and build” strategy.

One example of success that Thoma Bravo pointed to was Blue Coat Systems, a security specialist that it acquired in 2012 for $ 1.3 billion and sold last year to another private equity firm for $ 2.4 billion. In June, Blue Coat announced that it had been sold to Symantec for $ 4.65 billion — and that its chief executive during that entire time, Greg Clark, would run the combined Blue Coat-Symantec as well.

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