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Silicon Valley cybersecurity company FireEye has hired Goldman Sachs for a potential sale, sources say

  • The cybersecurity company FireEye has brought on Goldman Sachs to advise the public company on a possible sale, sources told Business Insider. 
  • Private-equity firms are the most likely buyers after the company failed to gain the interest of strategic acquirers in an earlier process, the sources said. 
  • The company has struggled since going public in 2013 and is losing money. 
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The cybersecurity firm FireEye is considering a sale, roughly six years after the company went public, three sources familiar with the discussions told Business Insider.

Goldman Sachs has been brought on to advise the company on a possible deal, two of the sources said, and private-equity firms appear to be the most likely buyer. The sources said the talks were in early stages and there was no certainty a deal would be reached. 

Representatives for FireEye and Goldman declined to comment. 

The Milpitas, California-based FireEye, which has a market cap of just under $3 billion and was founded by Ashar Aziz, has struggled to grow its original business. Aziz, who left the company in 2016, filed more than 150 patents on the different software and hard drives the firm used to anticipate cybersecurity threats. 

The firm lost more than $67 million in the second quarter of this year. 

FireEye's share price traded as high as $81 in the spring of 2014 after several acquisitions, including a $1 billion purchase of Mandiant, a company that was founded by FireEye's CEO Kevin Mandia. But just months later, the stock price fell by roughly 70% and has since fallen further. The company is now trading at just over $13 a share. 

Mandia took over in mid-2016 with the goal of transitioning the firm's business away from its hardbox-sales-focused model to a software-as-a-service structure. The change helped the firm turn a profit in the fourth quarter of 2017, thanks to a jump in subscription revenue, but increased competition in the space and growing costs have pushed margins back into the red.

The company pursued a sales process with Morgan Stanley in 2016, according to Bloomberg, and rejected two takeover offers from companies, including Symantec.