Mergers and Acquisitions, IT management, MSP

N-able Reportedly Exploring Sale

(DALL-E)

Could N-able be sold to Barracuda Networks or another software company?

N-able is publicly held and also has two private equity investors, each holding one-third of the company.

N-able’s private equity investors Silver Lake and Thoma Bravo are reportedly running a sales process to exit the MSP tools platform provider.

That’s according to a Reuters report that says the company is exploring a sale “after attracting acquisition interest.” Reuters cites “people familiar with the matter” as its source.

Who Will Buy N-able?

Reuters identified peers in the software sector and private equity firms as potential suitors participating in the sales process, according to the report.

Barracuda Networks, owned by buyout firm KKR, is specifically mentioned as a potential suitor. KKR acquired Barracuda from Thoma Bravo for $4 billion in 2022. Such a deal would combine in a single vendor security and IT management functions for service providers at a time when so many MSPs are the front line on cybersecurity for their SMB customers.

Channel analyst firm Canalys says N-able is number three for market share among the MSP tools platform vendors, holding 11.5% of the market. It ranks behind ConnectWise and Kaseya, Canalys data from March 2024 indicates.

As number three in market share, N-able's price may be more attractive to a buyer looking to gain entrance into the MSP tools platform market. N-able can offer a buyer access to mature and loyal MSP customers. ConnectWise and Kaseya would command a higher price, limiting the field of suitors for those two companies.

"N-able is a valuable company with good products and is ripe for entering the MSP platform discussion. I can see why it would be an attractive acquisition," Robin Ody, principal analyst following MSPs and MSSPs at Canalys, told ChannelE2E.

A key to the transaction could be private equity firm Thoma Bravo, added Canalys chief analyst Jay McBain.

"A big piece of this Thoma Bravo. They have the largest portfolio of MSP and cybersecurity companies that could be leveraged for significant value creation," he told ChannelE2E.

Thoma Bravo's portfolio investment companies include Barracuda, ConnectWise, N-able, PingIdentity, ProofPoint, SolarWinds, SonicWall and Sophos, among many others.

N-able’s Ownership History

SolarWinds acquired N-able for $120 million in cash in 2013 and renamed the organization SolarWinds MSP.

N-able went back to its roots in 2020, rebranding as N-able, and was spun out in 2021 from SolarWinds. The spin out came after the SolarWinds Orion supply chain attack in 2020. N-able’s technology was not involved in that attack.

ConnectWise, Kaseya May Also be Exploring Sales

The N-able sales talk news comes as N-able’s two primary competitors in the MSP RMM/PSA market also appear to be exploring sales as their private equity owners reach the end of their investment timelines. Both ConnectWise and Kaseya recently announced that they have hired new CFOs, both with experience at private equity-owned and publicly held companies.

Given the price that Kaseya and ConnectWise's PE owners are likely looking for to sell these companies, it will be more difficult for them to potentially find buyers. ConnectWise has indicated many times that it is exploring an initial public offering as an exit strategy for its investors.

Check back with ChannelE2E. We’ll be covering this story as it develops.

Jessica C. Davis

Jessica C. Davis is editorial director of CyberRisk Alliance’s channel brands, MSSP Alert, MSSP Alert Live, and ChannelE2E. She has spent a career as a journalist and editor covering the intersection of business and technology including chips, software, the cloud, AI, and cybersecurity. She previously served as editor in chief of Channel Insider and later of MSP Mentor where she was one of the original editors running the MSP 501.