ArcSight announces IPO plans | SC Media
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ArcSight announces IPO plans

September 13, 2007

ArcSight, provider of security and compliance management software, announced plans this week to go public.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based firm plans an initial public offering (IPO) of up to $75 million in common stock, according to a filing Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The 7-year-old ArcSight, which has sold products to more than 350 million customers around the world, did not say how many shares it plans to offer or what the estimated IPO stock price is.

The company – a leader in the security information and event management space – said it plans to use proceeds gained from the IPO for "general corporate purposes, including working capital and potential acquisitions."

Company stock would be quoted on the NASDAQ stock market under the symbol "ARST."

In the filing, the company said it faces many risks, including a posted loss in fiscal year 2007 of $257,000, although that was down from $16.7 million the prior year. Revenue also rose from $39.4 million in fiscal year 2006 to $69.8 million this year.

ArcSight marks the latest IT security company to go public after years of dormancy following the dot-com bust and concerns over Sarbanes-Oxley compliance costs. In July, 3Com announced plans for a TippingPoint IPO, while Sourcefire, last October, said it was going public.

John Pescatore, vice president and research fellow at Gartner, said many companies have been averse to going public because of the high paydays that result from being acquired by the larger players, such as HP, Cisco and Symantec.

"There's lots of consolidation in the security marketplace," he said. "A lot of investors started saying, 'If Cisco will pay that much, let's get our money now and not wait around for an IPO.'"

Organizations which are acquired or choose to stay private also avoid the typical concerns that go along with being a public traded entity, such as investor fears, worries over war or terrorism affecting the markets, and urgency to close a deal to meet Wall Street expectations, Pescatore said.

But IPOs may return to vogue if the market stabilizes and newly traded public companies, such as Sourcefire, rebut initial stock price woes.

Mike Rothman, owner of analyst firm Security Incite, said on his blog this week that the IPO is a first step toward financial success. Rothman recalled his experience when his former employer, analyst firm META Group, went public before being acquired by Gartner.

"I remember the day META Group went public," he said. "Our CEO, Dale Kutnick, said something that stays with me to this day. He basically told us that the IPO is a great accomplishment, but it's only the beginning of the road to building a long-term, sustainable business."

ArcSight marks the latest IT security company to go public after years of dormancy following the dot-com bust and concerns over Sarbanes-Oxley compliance costs. In July, 3Com announced plans for a TippingPoint IPO, while Sourcefire, last October, said it was going public.

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