Israeli cybersecurity firm Checkmarx to be acquired for $1.15 billion
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Israeli cybersecurity firm Checkmarx to be acquired for $1.15 billion

Purchase by private equity firm Hellman & Friedman marks largest-ever acquisition of an application security company

Luke Tress is a video journalist and tech reporter for the Times of Israel

Checkmarx's Founder and CTO, Maty Siman, left, and CEO Emmanuel Benzaquen, right
Checkmarx's Founder and CTO, Maty Siman, left, and CEO Emmanuel Benzaquen, right

Israeli cybersecurity company Checkmarx is set to be acquired by private equity firm Hellman & Friedman for $1.15 billion on Monday.

Checkmarx does application security testing and is known for finding security flaws in major technology platforms, including Google and Samsung camera apps and LeapPad tablets.

Checkmarx called the move the largest-ever acquisition of an application security company. The valuation of over $1 billion earns the startup the coveted “unicorn” label.

Hellman & Friedman acquired Checkmarx from Insight Partners, a venture capital and private equity firm that bought Checkmarx for $84 million in 2015. Insight Parnters will retain a substantial minority interest in the company.

Checkmarx, founded in 2006, has over 700 employees servicing 1,400 clients in 70 countries, including 40 Fortune 100 companies and half of the Fortune 50, including Samsung, SAP and Salesforce. The company is based in Ramat Gan.

The acquisition is a bright spot for the Israeli tech industry as it begins to suffer the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. One-third of Israeli tech companies are planning on firing employees due to the devastating economic impact of the outbreak and government directives aimed at stemming its spread, according to a survey of 135 firms released this week.

The firms appear to be on better footing than other industries, with 55 percent saying they had not seen any effects from the pandemic, but a growing number are seeing an impact on their business. On March 11, only 5% had seen major business consequences due to the outbreak, but on March 15, 33% said they had.

In another bit of good news for the industry, Microsoft said Saturday that it is looking to hire 200 employees for its Israeli research and development center. The research center, founded in 1991, was the company’s first outside the US and employs some 1,500 people.

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