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QuoVadis to be sold to US firm DigiCert

Sale plan: WISeKey intends to sell Bermudian-founded cybersecurity firm QuoVadis to DigiCert

Cybersecurity firm QuoVadis is to be sold by its Swiss owners to US company DigiCert.

QuoVadis, which was founded in Bermuda in the late 1990s, was bought by WISeKey International Holding Ltd last year.

Today WISeKey announced it had “executed a non-binding letter of intent” with DigiCert to sell QuoVadis’s secure socket layer and public key infrastructure businesses. The value of the deal will be determined after further due diligence, the statement added.

WISeKey added that it intended to retain QuoVadis’s data centre and cloud services operation in Bermuda and the ISTANA platform used to secure the connected cars industry.

DigiCert is the world leader in the digital certificate business, having previously acquired SSL and PKI assets from Verizon and Symantec. It claims that its identity and encryption for web servers and “internet of things” devices are used by more than 90 per cent of the Forbes Global 2000, a list of the world’s largest public companies.

DigiCert is backed and majority-owned by US private-equity giant Thoma Bravo, which manages about $20 billion of investments and which has led 60 total platform acquisitions in technology over the last 15 years as well as an additional 125 add-on acquisitions, representing approximately $49 billion in value.

QuoVadis was founded in Bermuda by Tony Nagel, Roman Brunner and Stephen Davidson and was the first Authorised Certification Services Provider under Bermuda’s Electronic Transactions Act 1999, enabling legally-valid digital signatures.

The company was originally backed by eVentureCentre, a unit of Centre Solutions, later Zurich Financial Services. In 2003, QuoVadis underwent a management-led buyout, backed by KeyTech and US-based private equity firm ABRY Partners.

The Bermudian-based company then expanded to Europe, first setting up operations in Switzerland, and later in the Netherlands, UK, Germany, and Belgium.

QuoVadis is a Qualified Trust Service Provider in the European Union and Switzerland, which means that electronic signatures and electronic corporate seals enabled by QuoVadis have the cross-border legal validity under eIDAS, the EU regulation governing EID and electronic transactions.

QuoVadis’ customer base includes a broad array of multinational enterprises as well as governments. The company participates in several large scale EID programmes including PKIoverheid and eHerkenning in the Netherlands and SuisseID in Switzerland, as well as providing signing platforms for industry groups in the legal and accounting sectors.

QuoVadis offerings include Trust/Link managed CA (certification authority) services, SSL/TLS certificates for web security, PrimoSign platforms for electronic signature and digital onboarding, and Istana PKI, a type of CA tailored for the “internet of things”.

A sister company, QuoVadis Services, provides cloud and colocation services for hosting, back-up and disaster recovery for Bermuda companies from its data centres in Bermuda and Europe.

In 2017, KeyTech and ABRY sold their shareholdings in QuoVadis to Geneva-based WISeKey, which is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange. WISeKey had previously purchased the French VaultIC semiconductor activities of INSIDE Secure, seeking to build a business centred on security solutions for IoT and blockchain.

QuoVadis has a long familiarity with DigiCert built on mutual work in the CA/Browser Forum and other industry initiatives.