The pedigree and revenue growth of Arista Networks, which in recent years has become one of the leading data switching companies to compete with rival Cisco Systems (CSCO), is boosting the prospects for its Initial Public Offering (IPO), which is now on for next week.
Arista bumped the price and terms on its IPO in a filing with the SEC earlier in the week, setting the price range from $36-$40. It had originally planned to raise about $200M, but in the revised S-1 filing earlier this week now has it raising up to $240M. It plans to offer 5,250,000 shares with an over-allotment option of 787,500 shares. It will trade under the symbol “ANET.”
If Arista goes out near the top of its range, it could achieve a market capitalization of about $2.5 billion, making it one of the healthier public offerings in the networking sector in the last few years.
What makes Arista so hot? First of all, it’s in a leading sector — data-center infrastructure. Data-center switching is in big demand, as cloud services company build out “Webscale” data centers to handle the explosion of cloud-based applications. By bringing next-generation technology into the mix, Arista is hoping to hit Cisco Systems in a high-growth area where it is vulnerable.
The numbers bear this out. Arista earned $417 million in revenue in the last 12 months and $48 million in profit. In calendar year 2013, Arista booked about $240 million in revenue, so it’s on track to at least double revenue this year.
“It’s a hell of a company and it’s got a hell of a record,” says John E. Fitzgibbon Jr., the Founder of IPOscoop, which tracks IPOs.
There’s also Arista’s legendary founding team, which started the company on its own dime without venture funding. Andy Bechtolsheim, Arista’s chairman and chief development officer, owns about 22 percent of the company, says the recent S-1 filing. David Cheriton, a founder who left the company and is now embroiled in a legal dispute with Arista, is the largest shareholder, with about 14 million shares or 25 percent. Arista CEO Jayshree Ullal, formerly of rival Cisco Systems Inc., holds 4 million shares, or seven percent.
The lawsuit between Cheriton and Arista has been subject to a fair amount of publicity, as it’s pretty rare to see the largest shareholder of a company to sue the company he founded. Cheriton now runs Optumsoft, and Optumsoft filed a lawsuit against Arista in April over intellectual property used in Arista’s software. Arista has filed a response to Optumsoft’s lawsuit.
Despite being an interesting story, the legal battle apparently has not had much effect on investor appetite for Arista shares. That’s probably because Cheriton owns 25% of the company — so many expect the two parties to reach a settlement.