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Websense Surges on Vista Equity Buyout

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Websense (WBSN) said on Monday it has agreed to be taken private by Vista Equity Partners in an all-cash deal that values the Internet security specialist at $24.75 a share or just under $1 billion.

Vista Equity Partners, a leading buyout investor in enterprise technology and security software, will pay about a 29% premium to Websense's Friday closing share price and a 53% premium to the company's average closing price over the past 60 trading days.

In pre-market trading, Websense shares rose above Vista's offer price to $24.99 a share. Prior to Monday's deal, Websense shares were up just under 3% in the last 12 months and down marginally over the past five years, underperforming the S&P 500.

"Vista shares a similar vision for the company, including a dedication to developing and delivering best-in-class cyber security to our customers," John McCormack, Websense CEO, said in a press release. "Vista brings an operational discipline that will enable us to continue to invest in the business and technology innovation."

Websense's board of directors has approved the takeover deal unanimously and recommends shareholders tender their shares at the $24.75 offer price.

Vista Partners said Websense senior management is expected to continue with the San Diego-based company.

"We are long-term investors in enterprise software and data companies that are committed to being leaders in their markets," Robert F. Smith, CEO and founder of Vista Equity Partners, said in a statement.

"We are impressed with Websense's market-leading product suite and the compelling value proposition it offers to its customers. We look forward to working with the company to enable it to reach its full potential."

Vista's deal comes amid interest among buyout firms to scoop up IT services specialists. Earlier in May, BMC Software (BMC) said it will be taken private in a near $7 billion deal, while Compuware (CPWR) is in the midst of takeover negotiations. A $24.4 billion buyout of Dell (Dell) announced in February is the biggest private equity deal since the financial crisis.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC) is Websense's financial advisor, while Cooley is the company's legal advisor.

JPMorgan (JPM), RBC Capital Markets, and Guggenheim Partners will provide financing to Vista Equity Partners for the all-cash buyout proposal. Kirkland & Ellis is Vista's legal advisor.

-- Written by Antoine Gara

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