Comodo’s Certificate Authority Business Acquired by Francisco Partners
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Comodo’s Certificate Authority Business Acquired by Francisco Partners

Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Comodo has sold its Certificate Authority business. California-based Francisco Partners, a private equity firm, made the decision to acquire Comodo’s CA because of the current conditions in the SSL marketplace.

Specifically, given the incoming mandate that all websites encrypt, and some of the maneuverings of Comodo’s CA competitors, Francisco Partners felt there was ample opportunity to expand Comodo’s business.

The new Comodo CA will be a standalone company that retains its Comodo branding at the outset. While the new leadership is open to changing the branding down the road, early on Comodo’s established brand power will be what carries the CA.

Comodo already enjoys the largest market share in the SSL industry but trails Symantec in high-value certificate sales. With an influx of new consumers about to enter the marketplace as a result of browser initiatives that require SSL, Comodo is following suit with Symantec’s CA by adding financial backing from a private equity firm.

“We have to restore confidence in this space and my goal is to promote Comodo as the place to go for SSL certificates and as a safe stable vendor that has been around for a long time,” Bill Holtz, the new CEO told eWeek.

So what specifically does the acquisition look like?

Comodo’s entire CA business has been acquired by Francisco Partners. Francisco Partners is bringing in an entirely new management team, including Holtz as CEO and Bill Conner as Chairman. Former CEO Melih Abdulhayoglu will retain a minority share and move into an observatory role on the board.

Abdulhayoglu will continue in his role as Comodo proper’s CEO.

Now, the million dollar question: what does this all mean?

Frankly, it means Comodo is going to run more efficiently and become a bigger player in the SSL marketplace. Holtz and Conner formerly worked together at Entrust and bring with them the experience to streamline a lot of Comodo’s processes and better situate the CA to provide higher-value certificates as opposed to just dominating the Domain Validated market.

Already there has been mention of building out a much more comprehensive Enterprise program.

For Comodo’s partners and customers, not much will change in the immediate future. These acquisitions take time and part of Francisco Partners’ goal in this acquisition is to keep the current customer base happy. So don’t expect many changes in the near future, and the changes you can expect should improve your overall experience.

“I’m in a great space that we understand very well, with a healthy business,” Holtz said. “My job is to turbo-charge what Comodo has done well and to energize the sales and marketing efforts.”


Patrick Nohe

Patrick started his career as a beat reporter and columnist for the Miami Herald before moving into the cybersecurity industry a few years ago. Patrick covers encryption, hashing, browser UI/UX and general cyber security in a way that’s relatable for everyone.