GA makes $200m debut Russian investment

Growth capital investor General Atlantic has invested $200m for a minority stake in internet security firm Kaspersky Labs.

Greenwich, Connecticut-headquartered General Atlantic has made its first investment in a Russian company. The firm invested $200 million in Kaspersky Labs, a Moscow-based IT security business, to acquire a 20 percent stake in the company, a source close to the deal confirmed.

Kaspersky: growth backing secured

The investment will make General Atlantic, which is led in Europe by managing director John Bernstein, the second-largest shareholder behind Eugene Kaspersky, the founder and chief executive officer of Kaspersky Labs who retains his controlling stake.

Kaspersky is the largest antivirus company in Europe, General Atlantic said in a statement. It offers products to counter IT security threats such as viruses, spyware, crimeware, hackers, phishing, and spam.

Natalya Kaspersky, chairperson of the board of directors and a significant minority shareholder in the firm, said in a statement that the company had been approached “by many private equity firms during the last decade”, proving its attractiveness. “We realize the necessity to take the next step in our global development and have chosen a partner who will provide better added value in terms of strategy development and who will help to mature the organisation,” she added.

General Atlantic, which operates an evergreen funding structure rather than a closed-end fund programme, annually invests around $2 billion. Last year the size of its average investment was just over $200 million. To date the firm has made investments in Brazil, India and China as well as Western Europe and North America.