Is SafeNet looking to secure an IPO?

Contact: Brenon Daly

A little more than three years after it went private, SafeNet is looking to return to the public market. Several sources have indicated that the encryption vendor has lined up its underwriters and plans to file an S-1 in about two weeks. If indeed the offering goes ahead, it will face a market that is proving rather hostile to IPOs right now. (We recently looked at the dreary state of the IPO market in a special report.)

Through both organic and inorganic growth, the SafeNet that returns to the market will be about half the size of the one that stepped off the market. We understand that the company is running at about $450m in revenue, compared to about $300m in revenue in the year leading up to its leveraged buyout. While private, SafeNet did a handful of small deals as well as the contentious $160m take-private of Aladdin Knowledge Systems.

An IPO would mark a second straight exit for SafeNet’s owner, Vector Capital. The buyout shop sold its portfolio company last week, realizing a return of two and a half times its investment. Vector took the Web registration and design firm private in 2005, pared down the business, made it dramatically more profitable and then sold it to

Also noteworthy about the rumored IPO by SafeNet is that the offering is being handled entirely by bulge-bracket banks. The book-runners are said to be JP Morgan Securities, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, with the offering co-managed by Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank. Off the top of our heads, that’s the first tech IPO that we can think of that doesn’t have a regional or boutique bank also helping to bring out a company.