The growth journey of a cybersecurity giant



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In 2015, the Bain Capital team saw in Blue Coat a cybersecurity category leader that could likely be a natural starting point for an ambitious expansion into many other cyber solutions. This vision led us to execute a series of combinations that would create the world’s largest cybersecurity company.

Blue Coat had a profitable business as the leading SW provider in the secure web gateway layer serving enterprise customers. Bain Capital helped Blue Coat conduct extensive research into its customer base to determine both: (i) how to cloud-enable the secure web gateway offering and (ii) what adjacent technologies would complement the value proposition of the core product. In partnership with the management team, we executed on our thesis to build Blue Coat into a platform at the intersection of network technology, security and the cloud, positioning the company for future expansion and continued innovation.

After a number of strategic acquisitions and organic product investments, Bain Capital’s efforts had contributed to a growth inflection at Blue Coat. Symantec, a large cybersecurity leader looking to expand its enterprise offering, merged with Blue Coat in 2016, recognizing the Blue Coat’s product strength as the linchpin of Symantec’s broader enterprise security strategy. Blue Coat CEO Greg Clark became CEO of the combined company.

In parallel, Bain Capital invested in Symantec to support the growth of both its enterprise and its consumer security segments. These efforts led to the acquisition of LifeLock in 2017, transforming Symantec’s consumer antivirus offering into a comprehensive consumer digital safety and identify protection suite.

Given the scale and differences between Symantec’s enterprise and consumer businesses, Bain Capital and the Symantec Board of Directors supported the separation of Symantec into two separate companies. Symantec went on to create significant value by selling its enterprise security assets to Broadcom in 2019 for $10.7 billion, allowing the company to focus its efforts on consumer security. The renamed NortonLifeLock continues to thrive as a leading, publicly-traded cybersecurity company.

The journey began with a growth investment in an enterprise security company, continued in support of the transformation of a much larger cyber platform, and concluded, many years after our initial investment, with the optimization of the platform to best serve customers and stakeholders. Bain Capital had the vision and capabilities to enable the creation and growth of a cybersecurity leader.


The Blue Coat opportunity started with a thematic view that security was a compelling place to invest, and that we could build a platform around Blue Coat’s technology. We are fortunate to have many cybersecurity connection points across our firm with our venture capital business, history of infrastructure investment, and operating resources. In this case, we invested behind a scale leader in an important market by supporting innovation and expansion into new product lines. Ultimately, through Blue Coat’s combination with Symantec and the subsequent separation of Symantec’s enterprise and consumer businesses, we helped transform a cybersecurity giant.

David Humphrey
Partner, Bain Capital Private Equity