Will Fortinet go shopping after going public?

Contact: Brenon Daly, Paul Roberts

Not that Fortinet actually needs more cash to go shopping, but the company will likely substantially fatten its treasury by the end of the year. Officially, the security vendor, which has been generating cash for the past three years, said in its IPO prospectus this week that it plans to raise $100m. However, we suspect the actual amount that it raises could be as much as $200m, a fitting offering for a firm that may well hit the market with a valuation in the neighborhood of $1bn. (Which exchange Fortinet debuts on is still undecided. We can only imagine the fight between the NYSE and the Nasdaq over listing a big-time IPO like Fortinet in such a lean time for new offerings.)

Whatever the amount of money Fortinet ends up raising in the offering, it will have plenty to go shopping. (Not to mention the fact that it will also have freshly minted shares if it wants to do a larger deal.) My colleague Paul Roberts, who heads our security practice, put together a possible shopping list for the company back in April, based on our understanding that Fortinet was a few months away from filing to go public. Roberts discussed a number of possibilities for Fortinet, including network access control and perhaps WAN traffic optimization.

However, he argued that Fortinet would perhaps be best served by making a play for an enterprise security information management (ESIM) provider to make sense of all the information generated by the various offerings. And, as fate would have it, Fortinet already knows one ESIM vendor rather well. Since 2004, the company has been OEMing eIQnetworks’ Network Security Analyzer and reselling it as FortiReporter.