In the latest move in a series of security-company acquisitions, private equity firm Thoma Bravo announced Wednesday that it has reached an arrangement to acquire IAM (identity and access management) firm Ping for a total sale price of $2.8 billion.Ping Identity\u2019s flagship product is its PingOne Cloud Platform, which acts as an underlying framework to orchestrate the company\u2019s own security products for each step of the identity management process, as well as a way to centrally manage third-party identity solutions.Thoma Bravo partner Seth Boro said in the announcement that Ping\u2019s products make it well-suited to address the fast-changing needs of companies using identity management technology.\u201cPing Identity's unique capabilities and strong\u00a0position in enterprise identity security make it a great platform to deliver customer outcomes,\u00a0expand into\u00a0new use cases and support digital transformations,\u201d he said. \u201cWe are highly impressed with the talented Ping Identity team and look forward to working collaboratively in the years to come.\u201dIAM is key to M&A deals in security sectorIdentity management remains an increasingly critical part of security offerings, and other companies\u2014private equity and otherwise\u2014are making M&A waves in the area, including SentinelOne\u2019s purchase of Attivo Networks in a $617 million deal announced in March.Ping is the latest in a long series of security-focused acquisitions from Thoma Bravo. The last such acquisition was SailPoint, another identity management-focused company, which the private equity firm bought up for $6.9 billion in April of this year. In September of last year, Thoma Bravo purchased a stake in Texas-based Intel 471, a threat intelligence provider, to go with its $12.3 billion acquisition of Proofpoint in April 2021. The company also purchased cybersecurity generalist Sophos in March of 2020, and payment security provider Bottomline Technologies for $2.6 billion in December.According to IDC research vice president Jay Bretzmann, the Ping deal could represent an attempt to combine SailPoint\u2019s capabilities with Ping\u2019s.\u201cPing was an earlier identity pioneer and one of the few alternatives to Microsoft with Active Directory.\u00a0 It did well with large enterprise organizations, but was not a leading cloud provider as AWS didn\u2019t even exist back in 2002,\u201d he said. \u201cIt wouldn\u2019t surprise me if Thoma Bravo creates one entity from both.\u00a0 There\u2019s plenty of running room left in identity security and CISOs want to buy from fewer providers.\u201dThoma Bravo said that it expects the deal to close in the fourth quarter of this year, and that customary closing conditions, including ratification by Ping\u2019s shareholders and regulators, apply. Ping will become a privately held company at the conclusion of the deal.Thoma Bravo is paying for $28.50 per share, all in cash, for Ping. This represents a 63% price premium over Ping\u2019s closing share value on Tuesday, Thoma Bravo said in an announcement, as well as a 52% premium over the average price for the last 60 days.