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Fortinet plots rare IT security IPO

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All in one security appliance firm Fortinet has announced plans to go public on the stock exchange.

The firm announced on Monday that it has filed a S-1 registration statement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on a proposed initial public offering of its stock, marking the first stage in the sometimes complicated process. "The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the offering have not been determined," Fortinet said in a statement.

Both the Wall Street Journal and Reuters report that Fortinet is only looking to raise a relatively modest $100m from the IPO.

Fortinet makes unified threat management (UTM) appliances that bundle anti-virus, firewall, intrusion prevention and other technologies into one package. These so called God boxes are popular in branch offices and with small business because they are low maintenance, among other reasons.

The firm was established in 2000 by Ken Xie, the founder and former chief exec of NetScreen, which Juniper acquired for more than $3.5bn back in April 2004. Fortinet, earned $7.4m on revenue of $211.8m last year, Reuters reports. The firm is based in Sunnydale Sunnyvale, California.

Fortinet's planned IPO is a rarity for the IT security biz, where market strategies have typically involved diving into a fast-growing segment and building up a decent head of steam before selling out to the big boys (Cisco, Juniper, Symantec or McAfee).

The last security firm to go public was Sourcefire, a commercial distributor of systems based on the Snort intrusion detection system. The company raised $86m though a IPO back in 2007. ®

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