Exclusive-Cybersecurity firm Rapid7 explores sale -sources

FILE PHOTO: Twitter Inc.'s former security chief Peiter "Mudge" Zatko testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 13, 2022. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/File Photo

(Reuters) - Rapid7 Inc, the cybersecurity firm that hired Twitter Inc whistleblower Peiter Zatko last month, is exploring options that include a possible sale after attracting acquisition interest, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Boston-based company is working with investment bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc as it considers approaches from parties that include private equity firms, the sources said.

The discussions are at an early stage and no deal is certain, the sources added, asking not to be identified because the matter is confidential.

Rapid7 spokespeople did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A Goldman Sachs spokesperson declined to comment.

Shares of Rapid7, which has a market value of about $2.4 billion, have dropped nearly 60% over the past year amid a broader sell-off in technology stocks and concerns about the company's competitive position.

Rapid7 specializes in so-called vulnerability management, providing software tools and services that help businesses assess and monitor security risks. It has been forced to compete harder for its business as corporate clients cut down on spending amid concerns about an economic slowdown.

Rapid7 said last month it had hired Zatko, a former hacker who served as Twitter's head of security until his firing in January 2022, as a part-time consultant. Zatko's claims about Twitter's security flaws and lack of control over spam bots were seized on by Elon Musk last year in his unsuccessful bid to pull out of his $44-billion acquisition of Twitter.

(Reporting by Milana Vinn in San Francisco; Additional reporting by Krystal Hu in New York; Editing by Anirban Sen and Nick Zieminski)

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