Vista Said to Hire Bank to Sell Network-Security Firm Websense

Vista Equity Partners LLC hired Citigroup Inc. to help it find a buyer for network-security company Websense Inc., people with knowledge of the matter said.

No deal is imminent and there’s no guarantee a sale will happen, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the process is private. Websense would be valued at more than $1 billion, one of the people said.

Vista acquired Websense for about $890 million in 2013. A representative for Vista declined to comment, as did a spokesman for Citigroup.

Websense makes software that blocks websites and lets companies inspect network traffic and filter e-mails for security and hacking threats. Companies are turning to Internet security providers to protect against increasing threats of cyber attacks. Earlier this week, Bain Capital agreed to buy Blue Coat Systems Inc., also a provider of online-security software, for $2.4 billion from private equity firm Thoma Bravo.

Passport Capital, a hedge fund run by John Burbank, told investors last year that one of its key investment themes is cyber security, after a wave of attacks targeted Home Depot Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Sears Holdings Corp.’s Kmart discount chain.

Websense was founded in 1994 as NetPartners, a reseller of firewalls and other network-security products, according to the company’s website. It moved its headquarters to Austin, Texas, from San Diego last year.

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