MARKET REPORT: Darktrace snaps up Dutch cybersecurity specialist

Shares in Darktrace rallied as the cybersecurity specialist made its first acquisition.

It snapped up Dutch firm Cybersprint for around £40million in cash and shares. The purchase is expected to complete at the start of next month.

Based in The Hague, Cybersprint provides tech that continuously monitors an organisation’s computer network to identify possible threats and weaknesses.

Tech takeover: Cybersecurity specialist Darktrace has snapped up Dutch firm Cybersprint for around £40m in cash and shares

Darktrace will add its capabilities to products, a move expected to accelerate its entry into markets such as cybersecurity powered by artificial intelligence.

Poppy Gustafsson, Darktrace chief executive, said the acquisition allows it to ‘leverage Cybersprint’s seven years of [research and development]’ and make it ‘much harder for cyber-attackers to carry out successful missions’.

Analysts at broker Peel Hunt noted that the tie-up was ‘positive’ given the highly competitive market and a shortage of workers in the tech sector. Darktrace rose 2.4 per cent, or 8.4p, to 352.2p, after the welcome good news.

Despite being a darling of the London stock market when it floated last May the share price has come under pressure.

After peaking at 985p in September, nearly 300 per cent higher than its 250p listing price, the stock has fallen sharply amid doubts about its business model and the effectiveness of its technology.

It has also attracted scrutiny through its association with businessman Mike Lynch, who is currently appealing against extradition to the US to face fraud charges. He and his wife Angela Bacares own just over 15 per cent.

The FTSE 100 climbed 0.1 per cent, or 3.97 points, to 7498.18 while the FTSE 250 fell 0.7pc, or 151.81 points, to 20,841.52.

Stock Watch – Eve Sleep

Mattress maker Eve Sleep rocketed in value after signing a partnership deal with furniture giant DFS.

The company’s mattresses and bed frames will be available on DFS’s website from next Thursday.

There are also plans to sell Eve Sleep products in showrooms this year.

It expects the partnership to drive sales as well as raise brand awareness.

The firm’s shares climbed by 60 per cent, or 1.05p, to 2.8p on the news yesterday.  

There was a small hint of optimism in markets amid hopes that the crisis in Ukraine could yet find a diplomatic solution. 

But among Russia-focused stocks, Evraz was down 12.6 per cent, or 35.2p, at 246p while Polymetal International lost 0.3 per cent, or 3p, to 1097.5p.

However, gold digger Petropavlovsk rallied to close up 3.7 per cent, or 0.49p, at 13.7p.

Oil prices continued to be volatile, with Brent crude hovering at just over $97 a barrel. The pullback pushed shares in BP 0.9 per cent, or 3.6p, lower to 382.9p and Shell dipped 0.6 per cent, or 11.4p, to 1943.2p.

Banking giant NatWest received a boost from brokers following last week’s results, with Deutsche Bank upping their target price on the stock to 315p from 300p while UBS hiked their own to 300p from 290p. It ticked up 0.1 per cent, or 0.2p, to 239p in response.

Lloyds, meanwhile, added 1.7 per cent, or 0.89p, to 52.2p as investors were optimistic about its full-year results today following strong figures from rival Barclays.

Mid-cap miner Hochschild saw profits more than double amid a surge in silver and gold production. 

Pre-tax profit for 2021 climbed to £101million from £46.3million in 2020 while revenues surged to £598million from £458million. Despite that, it fell 0.6 per cent, or 0.6p, to 101.7p.

Capital & Counties, the owner of the Covent Garden shopping district in London, swung back into a profit in 2021 as retail rebounded from the pandemic. 

Profit for the year was £29.3million compared to a £702.7million loss in 2020. It rose 0.1 per cent, or 0.2p, to 165.2p.

Telecoms giant Vodafone unveiled plans to offload its 28 per cent stake worth around £1.9billion in Indian mobile phone tower builder Indus. The stock dipped 0.6 per cent, or 0.86p, to 135.58p.

And Hargreaves Lansdown rose 2.5 per cent, or 27.5p, to 1122.5p as investors looked for bargains after its slump on Tuesday in the wake of disappointing results which prompted brokers to cut their prospects for the stock.