Security specialist Sophos has agreed to sell a majority interest to Apax Partners, a private equity group. On completion of the transaction, Sophos' founders will retain what the company says is a significant minority shareholding. Minor shareholder TA Associates will sell its interest to Apax as part of the transaction. Sophos has over 100 million users in more than 150 countries, with customers including Cisco, Marks and Spencer, Heinz and Harvard University. In its fiscal year ended March 31, 2010 (unaudited), Sophos had billings in excess of US$330 million (compared with $273 million in FY 2009)and revenue in excess of $260 million (compared with $213 million for the 2009 financial year). "Over the past three years, Sophos has prospered operationally and financially, growing our revenues at a 27 percent cumulative annual growth rate and generating strong cash flow," says Steve Munford, CEO of Sophos. "Apax's financial backing, combined with Sophos's deep understanding of security and data protection is great news for our customers, prospects and partners." "We are delighted to have the opportunity to back Sophos as well as its excellent CEO and management team," says Salim Nathoo, a partner in the tech and telecom team at Apax Partners. "We identified the security software space as an attractive investment area for us given its rapid growth driven by ever increasing malware threats and high barriers to entry. Sophos is a very strong platform and is gaining market share." Technology and telecoms is one of the five sectors on which Apax Partners focuses.