Shares of Arista Networks (ANET) soared on its trading debut today on Nasdaq, jumping 35 percent above a final offering price of $43, giving the company a market capitalization of about $3.75B.
Arista stock is now trading on the NYSE under the symbol “ANET” and most recently changed hands at 58.68, up 15.68 (36.47%) in mid-day trading in New York, after pricing its offering at $43 per share.
The Arista founders are now very rich — or more accurately, richer than they were before. Founder and largest shareholder David Cheriton, who recently resigned from Arista and is involved in a lawsuit with the company, made off with about $900 million in the IPO, owning about 25 percent of the stock prior to the offering. Andy Bechtolsheim, Arista’s chairman and chief development officer owned about about 22 percent of the company prior to the offering and will take down about $800 million, and CEO Jayshree Ullal, formerly of rival Cisco Systems Inc., held 4 million shares, or seven percent, making her stake worth about $260 million.
Leading up to the IPO over the last two weeks, Arista, which makes high-end switching gear for data centers, bumped up the IPO range, with its last range being $36-$40. But as we reported yesterday, demand for shares were robust and created a last-minute frenzy. The Santa Clara-based company ended up selling 5.3 million shares at $43, raising $223 million in the offering.
The IPO comes at a time when technology IPOs had slowed down after a share slump in the growth technology companies during the first quarter. Mobile management software company MobileIron is expected to go public next week.
Factors that made Arista attractive? It’s solidly profitable, and its management team has proven results. Arista earned $417 million in revenue in the last 12 months and $48 million in profit. In the first quarter of this year, Arista’s revenue nearly doubled to $117.2 million and its profit jumped to $12.3 million.
The strange twist with the Cheriton lawsuit did not seem to affect investor appetite at all. Cheriton resigned from the company’s board in March and filed a lawsuit against Arista, his former company, for violating a licensing agreement with Cheriton’s newest company, Optumsoft. Cheriton is also a professor at Stanford University.
With $900M of newly minted Arista shares in the bank, investors are probably betting that Cheriton is ready to just settle up with the company that made him a billionaire.