General Atlantic invests in software firm Kaspersky

MOSCOW/LONDON Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:12am EST

MOSCOW/LONDON Jan 20 (Reuters) - U.S. private equity group General Atlantic is taking a stake in Kaspersky Lab, a maker of anti-virus software, in a rare example of a private equity firm investing in a Russian business.

The private equity group, which specialises in taking minority stakes in fast-growing businesses, is buying about 20 percent of the business for around $200 million, two people familiar with the situation said on Thursday.

No financial details about the deal or the exact size of the stake were disclosed.

General Atlantic, which manages $17 billion in capital, will become Kaspersky's second-largest shareholder after CEO, co-founder and majority shareholder Eugene Kaspersky. John Bernstein, one of General Atlantic's managing directors, will take a seat on the board.

The deal is General Atlantic's first for a Russian business, though the firm has made a number of investments in fast-growing markets including China, India and Brazil.

Kaspersky is the world's fourth-biggest maker of secure content management systems, rivaling Symantec (SYMC.O), McAfee Inc MFE.N and Trend Micro (4704.T).

General Atlantic sells a significant proportion of its investments through initial public offerings, often holding onto stakes for a number of years after floating.

"We think an IPO (of Kaspersky) in three to five years in very realistic, particularly if the company sustains the fast global growth it has," said Bernstein in a telephone interview.

Kaspersky achieved revenue of $391 million dollars in 2009, expected to have grown by more than 30 percent in 2010. (Editing by David Holmes)

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