Cisco rival files for $200 million IPO

Arista Networks' switching systems have proved especially popular with Wall Street trading houses.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 31, 2014 3:18PM
Credit: Courtesy of Arista via Facebook, www.facebook.com/AristaNW
Caption: Arista office building in Silicon Valley By Don Clark and Anna Prior, The Wall Street Journal

Arista Networks, a startup that has become a prominent rival to Cisco Systems (CSCO), has filed for an initial public offering for up to $200 million in stock.


The company's co-founders include Andy Bechtolsheim, a prolific entrepreneur and hardware designer who was the first outside investor in Google (GOOG). Its chief executive is Jayshree Ullal, a former Cisco executive who has led the company since 2008.


Arista makes switching systems, targeting one of Cisco's biggest markets. Its products have been particularly popular among Wall Street trading houses and cloud companies, which deliver online services over the Web and are high-volume buyers of computing hardware.


The company disclosed Monday that its profit nearly doubled in 2013 to $42.5 million, while its revenue jumped 87 percent to $361.2 million from the previous year. 


Arista said one buyer, identified only as Customer A, accounted for 22 percent of its revenue in 2013.


Arista, based in Santa Clara, Calif., is the latest in a string of companies hoping to capitalize on investor optimism about cloud technology. Last week, online storage company Box Inc. revealed plans to raise as much as $250 million in an IPO, as the nine-year-old firm attempts to ward off intensifying competition in the online storage market.


Bechtolsheim in 1982 co-founded Sun Microsystems Inc., one of Silicon Valley's biggest computer makers until its purchase by Oracle (ORCL) in 2010. After leaving Sun, he went on to co-found a networking company that was purchased by Cisco; he subsequently served for several years as a Cisco executive.


The German-born engineer later co-founded another startup that was purchased by Sun, returning to that company to help design its servers.


Arista, which was founded in 2004, said it has no specific plans regarding the proceeds from the offering, it noted that the primary reasons for the offering are to increase Arista's capitalization and financial flexibility, to obtain additional capital, and to increase the company's visibility in the marketplace.


Morgan Stanley (MS) and Citigroup (C) are leading the offering, according to the filing.

Arista said it intends to have its stock trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "ANET."


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