Trustwave surfing toward an IPO?

Contact: Brenon Daly

After two IT security companies put in their IPO paperwork last summer, we’re hearing that Trustwave is almost certain to be the first filer in 2011. The PCI-compliance vendor is currently baking off, with the selection of bankers expected to be complete next week. The actual prospectus would likely be filed around April and the offering would hit later this year, according to several sources.

If the filing goes ahead as planned, Chicago-based Trustwave would join both SafeNet and Tripwire as security providers looking to join the ranks of public security companies. (Or in the case of SafeNet, rejoin the ranks of public security companies.) Our understanding is that Trustwave finished 2010 with roughly $125m in sales, and continues to generate cash. Depending on the timing of the offering, the vendor would likely come to market with a valuation in the neighborhood of a half-billion dollars, according to our quick, back-of-the-envelope math.

Founded in 1995, Trustwave has expanded far beyond its original focus on PCI auditing and remediation, largely through M&A. It has acquired seven companies in the past three years, most of them small firms that, for the most part, were having a tough go of it on their own. Trustwave then adds the acquired technology on top of its Linux platform (TrustOS) and offers it to customers either through an on-premises product or a managed service. All in, Trustwave counts some two million customers.